Journalist accused of harassing private citizen over legal donation
A local report in Utah faced heavy backlash over the weekend after tracking down a paramedic who donated to the defense fund of Kyle Rittenhouse and attempting to confront him at home.
The Guardian reported last week Rittenhouse, the Illinois teenager accused of killing two protesters in Wisconsin in August, received thousands of dollars in donations for his legal defense, including from public officials and police officers.
Jason Nguyen, a reporter from ABC’s Salt Lake City affiliate in Utah, discovered a local paramedic donated $10 to Rittenhouse and headed to his home seeking his “side” of the story. The decision to track down a private citizen for donating $10 was lambasted nationally once Nguyen tweeted about it.
“A Utah paramedic donated to the defense fund of Kyle Rittenhouse. It was first reported in the @guardian this morning. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two protesters in Kenosha, WI. I tried to get the paramedics [sic] side of things. See the story tonight at 10p on @abc4utah,” Nguyen wrote to accompany a photo taken as he knocked on the paramedic’s front door.
“Far too many journalists are willing to destroy the life of a private citizen doing nothing and bothering no one at a moment’s notice. It’s frightening and un-American,” NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck responded.
Political pundit Stephen L. Miller added, “If you don’t like the enemy of the people label, perhaps stop acting like such.”
“Some journalists go to war zones. Some confront security state agencies and repressive regimes. Some uncover the fraudulent schemes of Wall Street tycoons. And then some bullies abuse the profession to harass and expose private, powerless people,” journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote.
Greenwald then asked, “I wonder what this journalist would say if someone showed up uninvited at his door to ‘get his side of the story,’ and put pictures of the front of his house and posted it on Twitter for all to see?”
ABC 4 in Utah did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Nguyen responded to some of the criticism: “Me going to his house is to get his side of the story. I do the same thing to those who have crimes alleged against them, that goes for both sides of the law. It’s so we make every attempt to get the [other side] so that we are balanced, and that there is video proof of it.”
Many others took to Twitter to slam Nguyen:
And the press wonders why they’re hated. https://t.co/ukbyMMpvWL— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 19, 2021
Kamala raised bail money for BLM and Antifa terrorists, yet you’re doxxing a low paid first responder for doing the same?— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) April 19, 2021
This is why people hate the media and the hacks within. https://t.co/19lK52ZIgC
Why hasn’t Twitter banned this reporter for exposing a private individual to harassment at his home, a paramedic whose only “offense” is to make a perfectly legal $10 donation to an accused man’s defense fund? https://t.co/YKFN2BUyMd— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) April 19, 2021
Hey @abc4utah why is your employee harassing people based on hacked materials? Is he trying to get a paramedic killed? You do realize citizens can challenge your broadcast license, don't you? https://t.co/USMYVF6v8f— Dan Gainor (@dangainor) April 18, 2021
This is totalitarian thuggery masquerading as reporting, Jason. I'm ashmed that you and I are considered practitioners of a shared profession. https://t.co/IaZqWlVuJR— Sohrab Ahmari (@SohrabAhmari) April 18, 2021
Among the "public officials" so heroically EXPOSED by this bombshell report: "Craig Shepherd, who public records show is a paramedic in Utah… gave $10 to Rittenhouse on 30 August"— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) April 17, 2021
Really holding power to account here, so gratefulhttps://t.co/Zt0eFTvwP1
The camera rolling door knock is generally reserved for homicide suspects, corrupt politicians, and lottery winners. https://t.co/xKDf2rHgLE— Brandi Kruse (@BrandiKruse) April 19, 2021
Harassing a private citizen for donating to the defense fund of someone who’s not yet been convicted of any wrongdoing is not journalism. https://t.co/32UHDf082u— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) April 18, 2021
Omg did you guys hear a paramedic donated $10 to Kyle Rittenhouse?!?!?— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) April 18, 2021
Quick: call the small market investigative reporter. https://t.co/JLjNUkexqe
Rittenhouse, 18, pleaded not guilty earlier this year to multiple charges in connection to the killing of Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and the shooting of 22-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz during unrest in Kenosha, Wis. The killings occurred days after the Aug. 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha officer Rusten Sheskey.
Rittenhouse remains out on bail. He is expected to go to trial in November.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.
Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.