News and Analysis

Media Headlines Hide Fact That Kyle Rittenhouse’s Self-Defense Claim Was Made Abundantly Clear In Court
Kyle Rittenhouse waits at his table as his attorneys speak with Judge Bruce Schroeder at the end of the day's proceedings in Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 8, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images

On Monday, a man shot by Kyle Rittenhouse admitted in court that he was only shot after he pointed his gun at the teenager in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Gaige Grosskreutz admitted during questioning from Rittenhouse attorney Corey Chirafisi that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense in an exchange that caused the prosecutor to bury his head in his hands. The Daily Wire published the exchange:

Corey Chirafisi: Now, you’d agree your firearm is pointed at Mr. Rittenhouse. Correct?

Gaige Grosskreutz: Yes.

CC: Okay. And once your firearm is pointed at Mr. Rittenhouse, that’s when he fires his gun. Yes?

GG: No.

CC: Sir, look, I don’t want to – does this look like right now your arm is being shot?

GG: That looks like my bicep being vaporized, yes.

CC: Okay. And it’s being vaporized as you’re pointing your gun directly at him. Yes?

GG: Yes.

CC: Okay. So when you were standing 3-5 feet from him with your arms up in the air, he never fired. Right?

GG: Correct.

CC: It wasn’t until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun — now your hands down — pointed at him that he fired. Right?

GG: Correct.

If one only read headlines from mainstream media outlets, however, one would think the trial is going completely differently. Headlines from most left-leaning outlets focused on Grosskreutz’s statements about fearing for his life, or his claim that he had surrendered to Rittenhouse, even though video shows otherwise and defense questioning also led to him admitting that was not the case.

For example, The Washington Post’s original headline read: “Gaige Grosskreutz says he feared for his life before Kyle Rittenhouse shot him during Kenosha unrest.” The headline has been altered to read: “Gaige Grosskreutz says he feared for his life, pointed gun at Kyle Rittenhouse before getting shot.”

MSNBC also posted a tweet with a caption that read: Man shot and seriously wounded by Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year recounts the moments leading up to the near-fatal interaction, telling jurors he thought he “was going to die.”

The New York Times also posted a tweet with similar language:

Gaige Grosskreutz, the only person who survived being shot by Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, testified for several hours on Monday. His account underscored the challenge prosecutors face in disproving Rittenhouse’s self-defense claim.

The “only survivor” comment was another phrase frequently found in media accounts of the trial. CNN, CBS, and the Chicago Tribune, The New York Post — usually more right-leaning than other outlets — also used “lone survivor” in their headline. NPR managed to work in a similar phrase and Grosskreutz’s claim he feared for his life in their headline.

Some outlets did include the fact that Grosskreutz pointed a gun at Rittenhouse in headlines. The Associated Press, BBC News, and Politico all noted Grosskreutz’s admission in their headlines.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Media Headlines Hide Fact That Kyle Rittenhouse’s Self-Defense Claim Was Made Abundantly Clear In Court