Tucker Carlson voiced support - in his pre-approved Fox News monologue - for Kyle Rittenhouse after he was charged with murdering at least one Black Lives Matter protester in Kenosha, Wisconsin. As a result #FireTuckerCarlson is now trending. Good.
Rittenhouse was charged yesterday with first-degree homicide after two died of gunshot wounds at a protest against the police shooting of Jacob Blake. It’s not clear if Rittenhouse was charged with one or both murders.
The Washington Post has more on who and what Rittenhouse is. It also provides a disturbing snapshot of the Kenosha police:
“People are getting injured, and our job is to protect this business,” he told the Daily Caller on Tuesday night, hours before he would allegedly start shooting.
“Part of my job also is to protect people,” Rittenhouse told the Daily Caller moments before he allegedly began shooting. “If someone is hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle. I’ve got to protect myself, obviously.”
Rittenhouse and the other armed civilians shown in videos with him were violating Kenosha’s 8 p.m. curfew, and at 17, he is too young to openly carry a gun in Wisconsin, the [Chicago] Tribune reported. But police did not challenge him on either front.
One live stream from the scene appears to show police in an armored vehicle throwing bottles of water to him and others in his group, telling them: "We appreciate you guys. We really do.”
Racist comments from the Kenosha County sheriff about the people he serves have turned up, too.
The Trump campaign has distanced itself from Rittenhouse, The Post reports.
But Tucker Carlson painted Rittenhouse's behavior as justified during last night’s jaw-dropping opening monologue, which would have been approved by Fox News.
First, Carlson feigned the neutrality of someone waiting for more details:
CARLSON: Chaos that began with the first George Floyd protest on Memorial Day has reached its inevitable and bloody conclusion. Last night, three people were shot on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Two of them have died. Police say they charged a 17-year-old with murder.
At one point, the 17-year-old who has now been charged tried to run from the mob. He tripped and fell in the middle of the street. A man ran up and smashed him in the head with a skateboard. The 17-year-old then fired his gun.
CARLSON: So what does that amount to? We're unsure. A court will decide whether what you just saw qualifies as self-defense. As of tonight, we really don't have more details.
Then Carlson gave his wink and nod to the vigilante murder:
CARLSON: We do know why it all happened though. Kenosha is devolved into anarchy because the authorities in charge of the city abandoned it.
People in charge from the Governor of Wisconsin on down refused to enforce the law. They stood back and they watched Kenosha burn.
So are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder? How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?
Everyone could see what was happening in Kenosha. It was getting crazier by the hour.
CARLSON: "Kill the police," "Death to America." That's not Iran. It's Wisconsin. It could have been a dozen other places in this country, the violence has been building unabated for three months now.
Every day, the mob becomes more radical.
Any responsible person, especially a primetime cable news host, and any responsible network would try to de-escalate tensions in Kenosha and elsewhere in the country.
But Carlson, with the permission of Fox News, did just the opposite. He tried to camouflage his behavior by posturing as someone who hates division and loves law and order (though I don't recall any concern from him about Trump’s criminal behavior). Oh, and Carlson did all that by also pretending to be a regular guy, without bothering to mention he’s an extraordinarily wealthy trust-fund baby.
CARLSON: Our cities are burning because the people in charge have allowed them to burn.
Tonight, the White House is sending hundreds of additional National Guardsmen and military policemen to Kenosha and that is a very good thing.
But let's be honest, the Justice Department could have stopped all of this months ago. If Federal prosecutors had treated the organizers of BLM and Antifa the way they treated Roger Stone, our cities wouldn't look like Kosovo tonight.
But they didn't do that. Instead, they enforced standards selectively in direct violation of our most sacred American principle which is equal protection under the law. They ignored that.
CARLSON: It's awful, but think bigger for a moment. What is the effect on the country, on the rest of us, when authorities allow assaults like the one you just saw open threats and harassment and violence to go unpunished? What does that cause? Well, it increases tribalism for one thing. It makes us hate each other, and that's why they're doing it.
Our leaders want us to believe that this is all a racial conflict. They're always telling us it is, but they're lying. It is not a racial conflict.
What you're watching is more sinister than that. What you're watching is an effort by the academic left funded by Big Business to crush the last remaining resistance to their control of the country, and that resistance is an independent American middle class. That's who they really hate.
This is not a race war. This is a class war.
Not surprisingly, there has been an outcry against Carlson's comments. #FireTuckerCarlson is trending on Twitter. Carlson will inevitably play the victim and claim he abhors violence tonight or, if he goes on a sudden vacation, whenever he returns. But nobody should buy that he was misconstrued. Last month, Carlson incited violence against New York Times journalists and hinted he wanted the same for the mayor of Portland. Carlson has now taken the inevitable next step.
CORRECTION: This post originally said that Blake had been killed by the police. I am thankful to be wrong about that.