AMAC Exclusive by Seamus Brennan
When the jury delivered its long-awaited verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case on Friday afternoon, many conservatives – and indeed fair-minded Americans of all political stripes – likely exhaled a sigh of relief. The jury’s full acquittal of Rittenhouse—even after weeks of the media actively working to swing the case in the other direction, as well as several instances of jury intimidation—is a welcome sign that our system can still deliver impartial justice… at least for now.
Rittenhouse was accused of intentional, reckless, and attempted homicide, as well as reckless endangerment, after he shot three men (two of whom died) during riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin in the summer of 2020. While many would agree that Rittenhouse perhaps inadvisably put himself in a dangerous situation, that in itself was not a violation of the law – something that the defense went to great lengths to make clear. By any honest review of the evidence, Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense against his three attackers.
Yet although the jury found Rittenhouse not guilty, the 18-year-old has not fared so well in the court of public opinion over the past year. Notwithstanding the facts of the case, the media was determined to cast Rittenhouse in the most negative possible light by willfully ignoring key evidence and attempting to frame the incident as a racial issue, when race was obviously not a factor. (Each of the three men Rittenhouse shot was white.) CBS News accused him of “murder,” President Joe Biden slandered him as a “white supremacist,” and Congresswoman Cori Bush irresponsibly claimed that the jury’s decision amounted to “white supremacy in action.”
Now, conservatives are calling on both the media and many elected Democrats to apologize to Rittenhouse. Some have even called for Rittenhouse to sue the media and President Biden for defamation, asserting that they must own the consequences of what has increasingly become a dangerous disregard for impartiality and due process.
In addition to the media malfeasance that came to overshadow much of the case, the trial itself became the source of concerning antics. As George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley explained, “The troubling aspect of this trial was an array of prosecutorial blunders and, in my view, misconduct. The prosecution made reference to his silence despite a long line of Supreme Court cases saying it’s unconstitutional. There was evidence that was withheld. There [were] questions as to how the prosecution stated the facts.” The prosecution concluded the trial by seemingly attempting to make it impossible to declare self-defense—making the shocking claim that “You lose the right to self-defense when you’re the one who brought the gun.”
Judge Bruce Schroeder, who presided over the case, was even forced to bar MSNBC from the courtroom following reports that journalists from the news outlet were following the jury bus in an attempt to expose the identities of jury members. Such a move was likely intended to ramp up public pressure for a guilty verdict.
But while the Rittenhouse case is the latest example of the media circus that now seemingly surrounds any high-profile court case, it’s hardly the first: conservatives have come to know all too well in recent years that establishment media entities are more than willing to set aside factual accounts of tragic events to advance the progressive left’s preferred narrative.
This phenomenon can be traced back to at least 2011, when the media became obsessed with a narrative claiming that George Zimmerman, a Hispanic male, was a white supremacist keen on murdering black men—even though the jury ultimately found that the facts demonstrated Zimmerman was acting in self-defense. The same left-wing media complex then spent years pushing a completely false storyline about a police-involved shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, which resulted in heavy rioting and was used to push the idea that every police force in America is systemically racist. This notion was ultimately normalized and contributed to the nationwide burning of cities and the “Defund the Police” movement several years later.
In nearly every such controversial case, the narratives propagated by the media turned out to be at best grossly misleading and at worst irrefutably false. There is no clearer instance of this blatant media dishonesty than the now-infamous “hands up, don’t shoot” slogan, which became a rallying cry for activists based on the false notion that Michael Brown—who was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson—raised his hands and calmy told Wilson “Don’t shoot.” Even though investigations into the incident unequivocally established that this did not happen—and that Wilson was justified in killing Brown out of self-defense—the “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative nevertheless took root. As journalist Christopher Caldwell wrote in reference to the Ferguson riots, “The country’s official culture” is “now squarely on the side of the protests”—even if any “neutral reading of the evidence” proves to the contrary.
Of course, the media’s tendency for narrative-building and hoaxes is not limited to police encounters. For years, the media has routinely and intentionally misled the public about their political enemies, slandered high school students as raging white supremacists, and aided in left-wing schemes to advance accusations of systemic racism in every domain of American life.
This standard has become disturbingly commonplace on Capitol Hill, in newsrooms, and on college campuses throughout the country. It is thus refreshing and reassuring that the jury saw the 15-month-long smear campaign against Rittenhouse for what it was.
Yet just because justice prevailed this time does not mean it will in the future. The most important lesson from this case – for the media and the general public – may be that the American people should remain vigilant in anticipation of more attempts by the radical left to rewrite history and dispense with the truth in order to advance their progressive narratives. The future of the nation may depend on it.
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