As the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse holds closing arguments Monday, the media has taken to preemptively explaining why the defendant may walk free, despite their earlier assurances he was obviously a “domestic terrorist.”
That reason has nothing to do with Rittenhouse’s legal defense, or their own earlier misunderstandings about the case, but instead their scorn for the judge overseeing the trial, Bruce Schroeder.
In recent days, TV talking heads have taken to smearing Judge Schroeder as a racist who is plainly “biased” in favor of the defendant. These analysts’ ability to report from inside the mind of the judge is surely one of the most remarkable developments since advent of journalism.
The Nation magazine’s Justice Correspondent Elie Mystal is at the front lines of this preemptive strike. During an appearance on “Democracy Now,” Mystal said of Schroeder, “He has made a series of decisions, each one perhaps may be individually defensible, but in totality lead to the impression of a biased, racist judge, with his Trump rally cellphone, that is trying to get Rittenhouse a walk.”
Mystal’s “Trump rally cellphone” remark referred to a moment in the trial when Schroeder’s phone rang, and the ringtone was Lee Greenwood’s song “God Bless the USA.” As the song was sometimes heard at President Trump rallies, Mystal indicated this was clear evidence the judge was set to tilt the scales Rittenhouse’s way. CNN’s Don Lemon also took issue with Schroeder’s ringtone, sarcastically commenting, “God Bless the USA ringtone — which is the Trump rally theme song.”
But it’s not only the judge’s ringtone that has these legal beavers envisaging an imminent miscarriage of justice. Lemon and other pundits were especially angry over Judge Schroeder taking a moment on Veterans Day to acknowledge the service of military veterans.
“When the judge asked the entire room if there are any veterans here, and demands that the entire room clap for a veteran, and the one veteran in the room happens to be the expert witness coming forth to testify on behalf of Kyle Rittenhouse, that’s an example of a pretty biased courtroom,” MSNBC’s Jason Johnson complained.
These learned legal scholars were also able to channel their psychic powers to report that Schroeder’s administration of the trial is actually part of an elaborate plan to become a Fox News host. On CNN, Bakari Sellers claimed the judge, “is auditioning for the cameras and looking for his next gig at Fox News.”
Sellers’ CNN colleague, Jim Acosta, said Schroeder, “sounds like he has watched too much Bill O’Reilly.”
MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart dismissed Schroeder’s ability to conduct a fair trial, “The judge is making it pretty much impossible for the jury to actually consider all the facts and come up with a verdict where justice will be served.”
After months of assuring their viewers Rittenhouse was a reckless “vigilante” and “domestic terrorist” who was obviously guilty, these media personalities, sensing an imminent Rittenhouse acquittal, now seem to be laying the foundation to scapegoat Schroeder. As always, if everything they’ve confidently told us turns out to be wrong, you can be sure the blame falls with someone else.