The Rittenhouse case: A litmus test for truth and ideology

What version of the story have you consumed?

Medias+alternative+narrative.

Ella Jennings, The Horizon

Media’s alternative narrative.

Micah Sapienza, Guest Writer

The Kyle Rittenhouse case has become a political Rorschach test for the nation. Much like the 1995 OJ Simpson trial, the nation finds itself split into two camps, slinging mud and accusations across battle lines, feet dug in. 

This result, however, is emblematic of a far more concerning issue — the intentional division of the populace by the media, the presidential administration and various parties intent on provoking violent unrest.

The selective coverage and intentional lies about the events from the powers that be are a crystallized example of systemic power abuse and deliberate propaganda at work. This fact becomes strikingly clear when one objectively views the facts of the legal case contrasted with the subsequent reporting about it. 

To approach this incident as objectively as possible, here’s a brief and relevant summary of what happened. In August 2021, protests erupted in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, leaving him partly paralyzed and at first believed to be dead.

Concurrent with the protests were various acts of arson and looting of sundry buildings, cars and businesses. 

On the night of Aug. 25, 2021, Kyle Rittenhouse, a male 17-year-old, was in Kenosha providing medical aid, cleanup and fire control for his employer’s car business.

As he put out car fires, Rittenhouse, armed, was approached by Joseph Rosenbaum, a pedophile recently released from a psychiatric ward, who swore and shouted threats as he approached.

Rittenhouse retreated from the area, pursued by an unarmed Rosenbaum and another armed man, Joshua Ziminski, who fired a handgun into the air. Rittenhouse turned around to face Rosenbaum who attempted to grab Rittenhouse’s rifle. Rittenhouse fired four shots in quick succession, killing Rosenbaum. 

Rittenhouse then retreated from the area, announcing his intent to notify police, while pursued by a crowd of at least a dozen people. Rittenhouse was then hit in the head with a skateboard by one of the crowd, causing him to trip and fall, and then was jump-kicked by another unidentified man.

Rittenhouse fired two shots at the latter assailant, but missed. Immediately afterwards, Anthony Huber, a serial domestic abuser, proceeded to hit Rittenhouse in the head, neck and shoulder with a skateboard while trying to take his rifle.

Rittenhouse fired a single shot into his chest, killing Huber. Another man with a lengthy rap sheet, Gaige Grosskreutz, approached Rittenhouse and pointed a handgun at him. Rittenhouse proceeded to shoot him once in the arm, injuring him.

Rittenhouse retreated again, peacefully surrendering to local police, who took him into custody.

The subsequent court case provided a thorough breakdown of the events, resulting in the jury declaring Kyle Rittenhouse “not guilty” of all charges on the basis of self-defense.

From the moment the shooting was acknowledged, the vast majority of news sources jumped on it, attempting to fit it into their narrative and rightfully assuming that most people would not fact-check or watch the trial. 

Poke around on Twitter and you’ll see those same objective lies repeated ad nauseum. President Biden, while standing by the verdict, expressed a mixed reaction. Facebook and Twitter removed posts defending Rittenhouse because they were “supporting a mass shooting” and only very recently stopped censoring such posts. Fundraising site GoFundMe also removed attempted fundraisers for Rittenhouse’s legal defense fund around the same time.

As the trial went on and the facts of the case overwhelmingly pointed to self-defense, the media proceeded to manipulate the narrative further, such as CNN airing its interview with Gaige Grosskruetz, who proceeded to backtrack from his testimony in favor of self-defense.

The judge in the Rittenhouse case — who has also been labeled a racist by proxy — lambasted the news platforms for their coverage. 

Additionally, there were multiple attempts to film and dox, or release private information of, the jury in attempts to sway its deliberations through fear.

Even the Department of Justice (DOJ) is still looking into potentially bringing federal charges against Rittenhouse, despite the jury’s verdict.

If you’re picking up on a malicious pattern here, that’s because there is one. The media, Facebook, Twitter, the FBI, the DOJ and even the president were all involved in trying to bury Kyle Rittenhouse for the sake of a false narrative, a narrative that this country’s judicial system is systemically racist and that the Black community should be afraid, because white people are able to kill them without consequence.

It does not matter how much evidence was available to the contrary, it does not matter that nobody involved in the case was a person of color, and it certainly does not matter what the legal verdict turns out to be. What matters is the narrative being sold, and it wants Americans divided and violent. Don’t buy into it.

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Opinions expressed in letters and other editorials, unless otherwise stated, are those of the writers and not of The Horizon staff or the college collectively.

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