Pollak: 10 Media Myths Exploded During the Kyle Rittenhouse Trial

Kyle Rittenhouse waits for the jury to enter the room to continue testifying during his tr
Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool

The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has busted several myths propagated by the media and the Democrats about what happened during the Black Lives Matter riots on Aug. 25, 2020 — which then-candidate Joe Biden failed to condemn until the third day.

1. “White supremacist”: There was never any evidence that Rittenhouse was a “white supremacist,” even by the time Biden made that false claim last September. The prosecution confirmed that fact during the trial when it failed to produce evidence of any kind that Rittenhouse was a “white supremacist” or had racial motivations. The owners of the car dealership who asked Rittenhouse and others for help were Indian-American.

2. Rittenhouse shot first: Actually, a rioter named Joshua Ziminski was the first to fire shots during the fateful melée at the car dealership that Rittenhouse had rushed to protect. Though Rittenhouse testified that he did not see or hear the shots, they were the first ones fired that evening, shortly before Rittenhouse shot his first pursuer, a rioter named Joseph Rosenbaum.

3. Rosenbaum was a “peaceful protester”: Though the prosecution tried to portray Rosenbaum as a concerned citizen who just happened to show up at the riot, even Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger had to admit that Rosenbaum had been committing violent acts that night, including setting things on fire, and using the “N-word” to threaten other people. Binger tried to make light of the crimes Rosenbaum committed — an odd strategy, considering he is prosecuting Ziminski for arson.

4. Rittenhouse was never in danger: The prosecution tried to argue that the defendant was never in mortal danger, and that he could have retreated in a safer direction. But even the prosecution acknowledged that Rittenhouse was trying to “save his own skin,” as if that were a bad thing. So Assistant District Attorney James Kraus tried a new strategy: he argued that the defendant should have allowed himself to be attacked rather than shooting, because “everybody takes a beating sometimes.”

5. The “victims” were unarmed: Rosenbaum did not attack Rittenhouse with a weapon, though he wielded a chain earlier in the evening. But Anthony Huber smashed Rittenhouse over the head with a skateboard — twice — and Gaige Grosskreutz, who was wounded, had a pistol that he was not even licensed to carry. Grosskreutz testified that he had pointed the gun at Rittenhouse before the defendant fired — a shocking admission that seemed to confirm Rittenhouse’s self-defense argument.

6. Rittenhouse broke gun laws: The media claimed that Rittenhouse had broken gun laws because he was too young to be in possession of a weapon, or had driven it across state lines. Politifact even ran a “fact-check” against the claim that he was “perfectly” entitled to have his AR-15 rifle. But as prosecutors eventually admitted, Rittenhouse was legally in possession of the rifle because he was over the age of 16 and it was long-barreled. It was also kept at a friend’s house in Wisconsin.

7. Rittenhouse “crossed state lines”: It is true that Rittenhouse is from Antioch, Illinois. But he was working last summer as a lifeguard in Wisconsin, and his father lives in Kenosha — a fact that tripped the prosecution when they tried to portray Rittenhouse as a kind of outsider, a “chaos tourist” who neither cared about nor was familiar with the local community.

8. Rittenhouse’s mother drove him to the riot: This myth, still propagated by CNN, was exploded at the trial. She was not even in the state; Rittenhouse arrived on the scene with other people, as even the prosecution admitted during the trial.

9. Rittenhouse came to kill: Rittenhouse’s own testimony provided strong evidence that he had come to help. He offered medical assistance to rioters — even though he lied about being qualified to do so — and did not shoot anyone who did not attack him, even if they were armed and dangerous. One witness testified that Rittenhouse had even deescalated a conflict.

10. The Kenosha protests were “peaceful”: The jury saw lengthy footage of riots; what they did not see, but which emerged in media reports during the trial, was that the alleged “victims” all had criminal records. That would not, in itself, justify the shootings, but the high proportion of convicted violent criminals among the “peaceful protesters” was a revelation.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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