Given that Fox News has devoted no small amount of airtime to lionizing Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager facing various criminal charges for killing two people and wounding a third during racial-justice protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year, it might come as little surprise that Republican lawmakers are taking things a step further. “Kyle Rittenhouse would probably make a pretty good congressional intern,” Florida Representative Matt Gaetz told Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield on Wednesday. “We may reach out to him and see if he’d be interested in helping the country in additional ways.”
A day earlier, Ohio GOP congressional candidate J.R. Majewski—whose past online activities include fundraising to send Trump supporters to the “Stop the Steal” rally that devolved into an attack on the Capitol—tweeted an image of Marvel character Captain America with Rittenhouse’s face photoshopped onto it.
Other conservative talking heads have likewise made their closing arguments in defense of Rittenhouse as jury deliberations drag on. “[The Kenosha protest] was just people destroying things they didn’t build. That’s people wrecking our civilization,” Fox News’s Tucker Carlson said on Tuesday night, adding that in a “normal country,” the Kenosha protesters would “be put down immediately with force; that’s why we have police. You can’t allow that, because if you do allow that, people get killed, as they did.” The following night, Carlson hosted right-wing pundit Jesse Kelly, who suggested that Rittenhouse had every right to “[stop] the street animals from burning down Kenosha.”
As the gushing coverage of the Rittenhouse trial continues on Fox, other media outlets are having a very different experience. On Thursday, Bruce Schroeder, the controversial judge overseeing the case, banned anyone affiliated with MSNBC from entering the courthouse. “I have instructed that no one from MSNBC news will be permitted in this building for the duration of this trial,” Schroeder said. “This is a very serious matter.” The reason? Schroeder alleged that an MSNBC producer had been following a bus occupied by the trial’s jurors and had run a red light. In response, NBC News told The New York Times that the producer was a freelancer and that he did receive “a traffic citation” near the jurors’ bus but “never contacted or intended to contact the jurors during deliberations.”
Unsurprisingly, Fox News hosts were elated after hearing that their idealogical rival had been sidelined. “I think it speaks to this bigger issue of chilling free speech, and I don’t mean on behalf of MSNBC,” anchor Harris Faulkner said on Thursday afternoon. “They wanted to change the narrative. They wanted to get pictures of people and they know that’s wrong…. When you take pictures of jurors, you endanger them.” (NBC also told the Times that the freelance producer did not photograph or intend to photograph the jurors.)
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