Fox News host Tucker Carlson ignited widespread condemnation on Wednesday after he attempted to justify the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old accused of fatally shooting two protesters during demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday night.
“So are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder?” he asked on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”
Rittenhouse was reportedly arrested in his hometown of Antioch, Illinois, and charged with first-degree murder on Wednesday. He’s accused of crossing the state border with a semiautomatic rifle and joining a group of heavily armed white vigilantes who sought to “protect” public property in Kenosha, where he shot three people, killing two.
Kenosha has been rocked by protests since Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot seven times in the back by police Sunday while his children were nearby.
Carlson began the broadcast by showing footage of chaotic scenes in Kenosha, claiming major media organizations have been trying to “downplay and ignore” the violence before he then showed footage of a victim dying from a gunshot wound.
“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,” Carlson said. “The 17-year-old then fired his gun.”
“So what does that amount to?” Carlson asked. He then said a court will decide if it “qualifies as self-defense” and blamed the entire incident on Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, and authorities who he said have “abandoned” the city.
Carlson has often spewed vitriol about the Black Lives Matter movement and, in the months since George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, has persistently defaulted to fearmongering about the anti-racism protests gripping the nation. He’s...