‘The Epitome Of White Privilege’: The Media’s Worst Reactions To The Kyle Rittenhouse Trial
Kyle Rittenhouse, center, looks back as Kenosha County Sheriff's deputies enter the courtroom to escort him out of the room during a break in the trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 5, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images

Kyle Rittenhouse represents “white privilege” and the triumph of vigilantism, according to the coverage of numerous legacy media outlets and personalities this week.

CNN posted an article stating that Kyle Rittenhouse “represents the epitome of [w]hite privilege in America run amok.”

A few sources appeared to attempt a preemptive conviction of Rittenhouse, whose trial resumes on Monday morning. CBS Mornings wrote on Twitter this Thursday that “Kyle Rittenhouse testified in his murder trial yesterday, breaking down in tears as he told the jury he murdered two men at a Black Lives Matter protest last year in self-defense.” Rittenhouse did not admit he committed murder; under oath, he testified that he did not intend to kill two men, but shot them in self-defense after their actions made him fear for his life.

Some implied that the trial’s outcome is a foregone conclusion — in part because of Judge Bruce Schroeder’s ringtone. During court proceedings on Wednesday, the judge’s cell phone went off and many believed that it played Lee Greenwood’s 1984 patriotic hit “God Bless the USA,” which was often played at rallies for former President Donald Trump.

“I don’t have a crystal ball, all right? What I know is the law, and what I know is what white people are willing to do to defend white supremacy,” Elie Mystal, Nation magazine’s “justice correspondent” and a frequent contributor to both CNN and MSNBC, told “Democracy Now!” host Amy Goodman. Mystal added that Judge Schroeder gave him “the impression of a biased, racist judge, with his Trump rally cellphone, that [sic] is trying to get Rittenhouse a walk.”

“I was able to say two weeks ago the boy was going to walk,” Mystal said of the 18-year-old young adult.

The ringtone echoed in the legacy media’s collective imagination. The Daily Beast tweeted, “The judge presiding over the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial apparently forgot to silence his cellphone when the proceedings returned from lunch, revealing to the world that his ringtone is Lee Greenwood’s cheesy patriotic anthem ‘God Bless the U.S.A.’” In an article republished by Yahoo! News, The Wrap called the enormously popular song “jingoistic.” MSNBC host Joy Reid also commented on the ringtone. Others claimed the ringtone did not sound like the patriotic anthem.

CNN’s Don Lemon said Rittenhouse had become a symbol of citizens taking the law into their own hands. “It is the ultimate degree of entitlement,” said Lemon on the network’s “New Day” program Friday morning. “That’s vigilantism. That’s not what – people are not supposed to be vigilantes. We’re not supposed to be taking justice into our own hands. … If I see someone breaking the law, I call the cops.”

Numerous commentators diminished the impact of Kyle Rittenhouse’s sobbing openly on the stand, saying the teenager plotted his own breakdown to build sympathy with jurors.

CNN’s Ana Navarro, once lauded as a Republican pundit, tweeted, “Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, now 27. Think about how much their loved ones have cried, real anguish and grief, not crocodile tears.”

“That acting job of the crying? I can’t even look at it,” said “The View” co-host Joy Behar the morning after his testimony. “That is one of the worst acting jobs I’ve ever seen.”

USA Today offered its op-ed page as a platform for attorney Carli Pierson to describe “Kyle Rittenhouse’s crocodile tears” as “a nauseatingly melodramatic performance” in which “he choked back snot as he appeared to sob about how he feared for his life.”

MSNBC’s ReidOut blog rated his breakdown as mere “white crocodile tears,” and “a Razzie-worthy performance.” Rittenhouse’s “acquittal would set a dangerous precedent, but it could be the finale we’re headed toward.”

“A sobbing Kyle Rittenhouse already won — even before his trial is over,” wrote Issac Bailey, professor of public policy at Davidson College, for NBC News THINK. “If convicted, he’ll become a right-wing martyr.”

Rittenhouse’s attorney, Mark Richards, claimed in court Friday afternoon that Rittenhouse suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the chase and attack he endured before the August 25, 2020, shooting at the heart of his trial.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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