Sean Hannity put aside his “medical license” in order to play lawyer last night so that all his viewers could watch Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother sob and tell us that the white kid who took an illegal assault rifle to a Black Lives Matter demonstration in another state and killed two demonstrators is a good Samaritan and the real victim.
Hannity assumed a similar role for George Zimmerman when he was accused of shooting and killing Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teen. And while Hannity doesn’t hesitate to accuse Blacks of racism, he seems to like nothing better than to leap to the defense of white folks in racial hot water.
I’ve written many times about Hannity playing doctor on Fox News, from diagnosing Hillary Clinton to COVID expert. But last night, Hannity played legal expert.
MAGA world, which very much includes Hannity, has donated megabucks for Kyle's defense. It wouldn’t surprise me if Hannity is/was a donor, too.
In any event, Hannity and Fox News certainly donated lots of PR with his beyond-softball interview with Wendy Rittenhouse last night. Now, I can’t blame a mother for doing everything possible to help her son but that’s no excuse for Hannity and Fox to act like they’re members of the family, too.
First, Hannity declared that Kyle’s tears on the witness stand, which seemed fake to many, seemed “like a classic panic attack” to Hannity, who also assured us that he can “read people pretty well” and has done it his “whole life.”
“That’s your son,” Hannity said, after playing the clip of Kyle's crying jag. “How does that make you feel?”
Wendy Rittenhouse had her own convenient crying jag in court and she reprised it on Hannity. “I just breakdown with Kyle crying like that,” she said. “It made me feel heartbroken, sand and I wanted to just go up there and hug him and tell him it would be OK.”
In case there’s any doubt that Hannity’s real interest in Kyle is as a political tool, Hannity followed up on Rittenhouse’s heartbreak, not by asking how she’s been coping or how she may have been able to comfort her son during this time, but by playing the race card. Hannity prodded Wendy Rittenhouse to attack President Joe Biden and to hold Kyle up as a victim of racism.
HANNITY: When the then-candidate, now president of the United States and other elected officials that don’t know anything about your son refer to him as a white supremacist, I have yet to see any evidence whatsoever that he is such a person. And when prominent people say that, how did that impact you and how did it impact him?
RITTENHOUSE: When I saw what, afterwards of the president candidates’ debate, When I saw that, I was in shocked. I was angry. President Biden don't know my son whatsoever. And he is not a white supremacist. He is not a racist. And he did that for the votes. And I was so angry for a while at him and what he did to my son. He defamed him.
Next, Hannity moved to play video of Rittenhouse supposedly being attacked by the people he claimed to shoot in self defense. Hannity helpfully set the scene by saying the first person knocked off Kyle’s hat and that he was “on the ground” when “an individual with his leg up [was] about to pound his leg into [Kyle’s] face, into the cement.”
“That was one of the shootings,” Hannity said. “What do you see there?”
RITTENHOUSE: I see this man trying to kick my son in the face. I was scared. I was frightened. I thought my son was going to die that night.
Hannity next delivered another set of defense-team talking points:
HANNITY: When you see the tape and you’ve heard witnesses testify that he was trying to deescalate the situation there, when you look at the tape, when you look at the witness testimony and then the prosecution brings on their star witness who got shot by your son – and that star witness admitted on the stand, under oath, that he aimed a loaded gun at your son before your son shot him. That would seem to me a classic case of self-defense. Your thoughts?
That’s when Wendy Rittenhouse broke into tears.
RITTENHOUSE: When I look at that video with that guy pointing the gun to my son's head, I thought he was going to die. This guy just pointed his gun at his head. It took a long time to, just to, just to grasp on that he was alive. And knowing that he’s with me, I’m - I’m grateful. And I’m relieved that he’s OK, but he has a lot of healing to do. Because he does have nightmares from this.
She indicated no concern about the nightmares anyone else might be having or the healing needed as the result of her son killing two people that night. Nor did Hannity.
Hannity closed the discussion by painting Kyle as a hero:
HANNITY: I know your son was a lifeguard and I know your son’s stated reason for going [to Kenosha] was to help protect stores and help on the medical front. Have you and your son discussed whether or not if he had to do it over again he would go into a situation like that?
RITTENHOUSE: With Kyle, I know him. He would probably do it again ‘cause that’s the type of person he is. He always wants to help people. Even since he was a little boy, that’s all he wanted to do, was help people. It didn't matter if it was raking leaves for the neighbors, talking to them, or just being goofy. That's how I raised him, is to help people.
Let’s be clear here. While the conservatives like to portray this as a gun rights case, Tucker Carlson gave the game away a long time ago when he revealed it’s really about vigilantism.
You can watch the interview below, from the November 11, 2021 Hannity.
I agree entirely with you in wanting not to blame a mother for protecting her cubs but Kylie’s actions and attitude tell me that this woman bears a lot of responsibility for raising a kid who thought it was OK to carry a weapon of mass destruction to an event by people he disagreed with. He wanted to exercise P.O.W.E.R. aka that rush of adrenaline that comes with scaring others. The three men who challenged him reacted exactly like the passengers on that hijacked airplane headed for the WH on September 11, 2001. And two of them paid the same price for their bravery.
After seeing the mother’s interview on Hannity, especially the part where she says that Kylie would “probably do it again because he likes to help people (?)”, I certainly wouldn’t put it past her to have encouraged him. Her widdle boy is a spoiled toddler-brain had to have gotten those ideas from somebody and my guess is that that somebody was her.
I’m not trying to champion her but just to correct the record, Kyle’s mother did not drive him to the demonstration (she drove him to the police to turn himself in) and Kenosha wasn’t a great distance from where he lived, according to The New Yorker. It’s an interesting article which I have not yet finished.
The George Zimmerman murder of Trayvon Martin was another example of the same thing – stalk and attack someone from the darkness in their neighborhood, and then act shocked when they respond in an unfriendly fashion.
Rittenhouse is not on trial for jaywalking or for saying an unkind word. He’s on trial because he illegally carried an assault weapon across state lines with the intent to attack protestors. He was recorded making vicious statements about this beforehand, and his subsequent behavior as seen in that bar confirmed his approach.
I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that his courtroom tears are probably real. He’s looking at a serious penalty for his murder of two people and for his attempted murder of a third person. And frankly, he should be upset and worried. Sadly, he does not appear to have any remorse over having murdered the protestors – his unhappiness appears to be about his own predicament.
I’ll note that the wild defense arguments about how his actions were “in self defense” always leave out the most crucial information – had he not crossed state lines to initiate a deadly confrontation with his illegal assault weapon, he would never have been in a scenario to “defend himself” in the first place. This isn’t hard to unpack.
The judge here is not a closet Trumper – he’s actually pretty open about his predilections. I would argue that the judge’s conduct in open court may open the door to a review by a higher court. If this judge completes his maneuver of throwing the trial, I don’t believe that Rittenhouse can tried again as that would be double jeopardy, but I do think that the judge may face some consequences himself.
Meanwhile down in rural Georgia, three good old boys are awaiting their inevitable acquittal by a lily white jury. It’s always hunting season for Blacks-While-Jogging.
I agree with Ellen in not wanting to blame a mother for doing whatever she can to help her son.
BUT !!!! THERE’S A BIG BUT!!!
This is the woman who raised the boy who thought it was OK to travel hundreds of miles to another city with a weapon of mass destruction … to do what, exactly? have a cuppa with the boys? Not credible- He was there on his own because he wanted to be the hero of the day, like one of those comic-book fellas.
And it gets worse: his mother actually drove him there, with a gun that nobody with a working brain could ever consider anything but a human-killing machine, instead of taking it gently away from him and giving him his cookie and a glass of milk. The mother not only made but abetted the monster who went to Kenosha looking to make a kill. I might consider cutting the kid some slack but not the mother.