Hands of blue. Video screenshot.

Young people have a hard time making sense of this crazy old world, so it's only reasonable that the Department of Homeland Security would distribute talking points to officials that emphasized the sympathetic side of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged with murdering two people during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. NBC News says it obtained briefing documents that instructed officials speaking to the media to put an understanding spin on the young man who traveled from his home in Illinois with a semiautomatic rifle across state lines to Kenosha to play vigilante.

Or as the talking points put it, Rittenhouse "took his rifle to the scene of the rioting to help defend small business owners." What a public-spirited fellow! NBC News is careful to note that it's "unclear whether any of the talking points originated at the White House or within Homeland Security's own press office."


NBC News ran the documents past former DHS officials, who said it sure was "unusual for law enforcement officials to be instructed to weigh in on a case involving a particular group or individual before investigations had concluded." But this is the Trump administration, where it's never too soon to decide who the good guys are and why it's OK they shot some damn antifa terror commies.

"It is as unprecedented as it is wrong," said Peter Boogaard, who was a spokesperson for Homeland Security during the Obama administration.

"What strikes me about the talking points is that they didn't call for calm among the public," said Elizabeth Neumann, who served as DHS's assistant secretary for threat prevention and security policy in the Trump administration.

The article notes that Neumann left her job in April and has endorsed Joe Biden (and, we'd add, she even appeared in a "Republicans against Trump" ad), so clearly she can't be objective about what a brave little guy Rittenhouse was.

The talking points also advise that "Kyle was seen being chased and attacked by rioters before allegedly shooting three of them, killing two," and that "Subsequent video has emerged reportedly showing that there were 'multiple gunmen' involved, which would lend more credence to the self-defense claims."

The document also advises officials, when asked by the media to comment on Rittenhouse, to say they won't comment on an ongoing investigation, but to add the completely neutral observation,

What I will say is that Rittenhouse, just like everyone else in America, is innocent until proven guilty and deserves a fair trial based on all the facts, not just the ones that support a certain narrative. This is why we try the accused in the court of law, not the star chamber of public opinion.

And then they should also underline the administration's love of Law 'n' Order:

This is also why we need to stop the violence in our cities. Chaotic and violent situations lead to chaotic, violent and tragic outcomes. Everyone needs law and order.

We'll also note that the article generated a little pushback from inside DHS; two "high-ranking DHS officials" told the Federalist that NBC News got it all wrong, apparently because the officials wanted to talk to the most credible outlet they could think of. In their spinning of the story, the only "talking points" in the documents were the instructions to refuse comment on an ongoing investigation, and to push law and order, while the other exculpatory-sounding points in the memo were merely "background" that DHS folks should be aware of, but not points to make to the press, heavens no!

According to these officials, the allegations raised by NBC are referring to a section of the briefing document purposefully labeled "situation" and designed to grant background information to the federal law enforcement officers involved in the case. The second section of the document labeled "response" outlines the talking points intended for use by officers.

That actually seems plausible, since the advice for speaking to the media emphasizes the "no comment but let's not judge the boy in the media" bit. Without seeing the actual documents, we don't know how the "situation" bit was framed.

But hilariously, the Federalist wants us to believe that it's somehow no big deal that DHS delivered law enforcement officials a propagandistic bunch of bullet points slanted in Rittenhouse's favor, as long as they're merely "background" information. Sure, it's pushing a very sympathetic view of the accused murderer, but it's not for public consumption, so here's how we think of Our Boy Kyle.

For that matter, the Federalist even shares one far more damning bit of spin than what the NBC News piece included, explaining,

The situational background outlines how media and Democrats "are trying to craft the narrative of a police-obsessed lone-wolf" and a "white supremacist" using "zero evidence."

But you see, that's not a "talking point," it's just objective background propaganda to make sure DHS employees are all on the same page about how Democrats and the media cannot be trusted, those filthy liars.

Heck of a self-own, Federalist! Who funds you, anyway?

Gee, NBC News sure was dumb to suggest there's anything odd about these perfectly normal documents. What a bunch of amateurs.

[NBC News / Federalist]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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