On November 19, 2021, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges by a jury in Kenosha. The highly controversial trial took place after an extensive investigation following August 25, 2020, when Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz amid a volatile Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha.
The trial itself was a clear victory for the defense. While he merely had to establish reasonable doubt, Rittenhouse’s attorney, Mark Richards, established an ironclad case for self-defense and sent lead prosecutor Thomas Binger into a scramble, by forcing him to justify the aggressive behavior of the three men shot. The prosecution’s argument was often contradicted by their own witnesses. Prosecutors even attempted to discredit their witness Nathan DeBruin after he revealed on the stand that they pressured him to change his witness statement. By the end of the trial, Binger and Co. were so devoid of a logical argument that they resorted to citing Rittenhouse’s TikTok account, and the age-old ‘video games cause violence’ argument.
Any viewers who even scantly observed the trial would witness a dissection of the prosecution by the defense. But when the predictable verdict was finally announced, it was met with moral outrage by the usual actors.
Before the verdict was even released, media giants who had spent months capitalizing on the Rittenhouse shooting to whip their viewers and readers into a frenzy, set out to preemptively undermine the verdict. Some members of the press defended Binger after he was admonished by Judge Bruce Schroeder, for improper lines of questioning. Others targeted minor details such as Schroeder’s ringtone, “God Bless The USA,” which they recognized as a “Trump rally theme.”
Politicians and media giants are not concerned with the individual actions of people like Rittenhouse so much as they are with the value of these stories as political capital. They cling to one side of a conflict and explain its broader implications on American society in a way that neatly fits their ideology. Why else would they, for example, desperately attempt to connect the trial to white supremacy, when the defendant is on trial after shooting three white men while guarding Indian-American-owned businesses?
The number of left-wing ideologues who argued about the trial for political gain evidently eclipses the number who actually watched it. Many people, for example, lionized the men shot by Rittenhouse while apparently remaining oblivious to their backgrounds as felons and their clearly violent behavior on the scene. Hollywood actors Mark Ruffalo and Pedro Pascal, among numerous others, posted tributes to Rosenbaum and Huber, with Ruffalo affectionately referring to Rosenbaum as “JoJo.” Ruffalo and Pascal may be surprised to learn that “JoJo” was a convicted child rapist with five victims between the ages of nine and eleven. A number of falsehoods regarding the trial also widely circulated on the web, such as the notion that Rittenhouse actually shot three black men, as was claimed by The Independent along with numerous other international outlets.
President Biden himself released a statement that he was “angry and concerned” by the verdict, despite admitting to reporters that he didn’t watch the trial mere hours before.
While Kyle Rittenhouse stood the test of the court of law, his guilt was predetermined in the court of public opinion the moment his actions were politicized by the media. The man Kyle Rittenhouse was not on trial; the ill-conceived caricature of him as a racist vigilante was.
According to the left, if the judicial system fails to convict Rittenhouse for his bigoted vigilantism, it isn’t because their conception of him was wrong, but because the system itself is inherently supportive of the nefarious values they attribute to him and must now be reformed. These are the terms used to condemn the verdict, not in the language of the law or the context of the trial.
For example, Eddie S. Glaude Jr., chairman of the African American studies department at Princeton University, claims while writing for the Washington Post that the verdict is the product of the broader phenomena of “White Innocence,” and that Rittenhouse’s acquittal on the grounds of self-defense emboldens the “militant right” to enact a “violent defense of its vision of America.”
Rittenhouse’s acquittal was a foregone conclusion to anybody paying attention. However, after over a year of bad faith reporting, and forcing the trial into the context of national politics, his individual actions, and actual guilt or innocence became irrelevant.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.