(CNN) — Kyle Rittenhouse idolatry reached new heights Monday night when Tucker Carlson used his primetime Fox News primetime show to lavish even more praise on the teen.
Before broadcasting your interview with Rittenhouse, Carlson stated: “During the course of our long conversation, we found Kyle Rittenhouse brilliant, decent, sincere, obedient, and hard-working.” Carlson went on to say that Rittenhouse is “exactly the kind of person he would like to have more of in his country. He’s not especially political. He never wanted to be the symbol of anything.” Later in the show, Carlson described Rittenhouse as a “sweet boy.”
None of that is particularly surprising, considering the way Carlson has covered the case before. But it shows how the dominant right-wing media sector, led by Carlson, continues to work to promote Rittenhouse as a role model for others. People like Carlson are not only excusing the general concept of vigilante justice, they are actively promoting it.
There are some voices in the conservative media who have rejected this narrative. In particular, Carlson’s Fox News colleague Gillian Turner noted earlier Monday that while Rittenhouse was acquitted “he is not a hero here.” As she said, “There are no heroes, there are no winners. There is no victory lap for Kyle or anyone else.”
But Turner’s mic pales in comparison to Carlson’s. And it’s hard to see Carlson’s interview with Rittenhouse, in which (unsurprisingly) he attacked the media and others, as more than just a victory lap …
“I don’t think he’s a crazy right-winger”
An hour after Rittenhouse’s interview with possibly the most prominent right-wing conspiracy theorist in the business aired, his attorney, Mark Richards, appeared on CNN and portrayed his client in a different light. Chris Cuomo asked about Carlson, Fox News, and whether Rittenhouse is aligned with such forces in the right-wing media. Richards replied: “I don’t think he is … I don’t think he is a crazy right-winger.”
Cuomo then asked Richards about Rittenhouse’s idolatry: “What kind of message do you think this sends?” Cuomo asked, noting how some gun shops are promoting sales tied to Rittenhouse’s name and how a Republican lawmaker offered him an internship. “Is that something Kyle endorses?” Richards replied, “I don’t think it’s something he endorses. I think it sends a message that certain people are idiots …”