The Rittenhouse Trial Shows Us Why Cameras in Courtrooms Are the Proper Move for Our Legal System

Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool

The past couple of weeks showed it was beneficial that we were able to watch the Rittenhouse trial for ourselves.

Make no mistake, there has been no shortage of imbalanced visuals and cerebrally-challenged commentary surrounding the case over the past weeks that is the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. From a prosecution team that had dreams of a post-verdict TV career to a judge who was very comfortable in his robe or the defendant who became social media fodder after breaking down on the stand and a lawyer whose face-palm became a meme after his witness unraveled their case with one answer — this had all the earmarks of a legal jesters’ cabaret.

And we need to be grateful that it was captured live for us to see.

I know, there are plenty of people saying this was a fiasco of torts, and that the presence of the cameras not only added to the hysterics but they quite probably encouraged many of the shenanigans. It was apparent early on lead prosecutor Thomas Binger felt he had a further career of some sort in front of cameras; he managed to derail that dream with a performance of ineptitude, capped off by his pointing a gun at the jury, displaying worse gun management than the 17-year-old he was attempting to show was reckless.

Joe Biden's Tweet with Ad Featuring Kyle Rittenhouse
Screenshot from Joe Biden’s tweet with ad featuring Kyle Rittenhouse, Credit: Twitter

Judge Bruce Schroeder has also enjoyed his time before the lenses, boisterously condemning some of the actions of the prosecutors but also allowing their sham of a case to continue, despite numerous reasons to call a mistrial. Considering that this prosecution team has been such a disaster that airbags should have gone off at the plaintiff’s desk, the trial has not been curtailed. That would cut short the camera time.

Then there was the debacle we saw play out involving MSNBC/NBC News, with potential jury tampering. A stringer for NBC was chasing down the juror’s vehicle, seemingly looking to learn who they were, in defiance of the safety protocols set up for them. But don’t you dare call the press the “enemy of the people.” The past few weeks, the journalists have been behaving like jackals, as there has been no shortage of wild claims about this case made in the press. The mistruths, misrepresentations, and misapplication of the law are rather lengthy.

  • Kyle Rittenhouse did not cross state lines. He has family in Kenosha, works in the town, and had been lending help in the area for days.
  • Kyle’s mother did not drive him to the riot. He had worked that day and then remained in the area.
  • He did not bring his gun illegally. It was being kept at the Kenosha home of a friend.
  • Kyle did not illegally possess his firearm. Wisconsin law permits people his age to have the type of gun he brandished that night, hence the weapons charge against him being tossed.
  • Charges of Rittenhouse being a white supremacist have never been proven. FBI searches found no evidence of such a claim.
  • Kyle was accused of wearing gloves the night of the shooting in order to hide his fingerprints. This idiocy is dispelled by the photos showing him at times without gloves, and in the gloved photos, his face is clearly visible.
  • The press is uniformly calling this trial race-based, when every single player involved is white.
  • Press reports have said Kyle enforced violence in the city when he was inspired to go to Kenosha, because conservative media brainwashed him with false tales of strife. For this fable to hold up, they need to ignore the days of violence that had been taking place prior to his arrival.
  • Kyle did not shoot first; those he shot instigated all the conflict.
  • While demonizing Rittenhouse for possession of a weapon the press has to ignore Gaige Grosskreutz had a gun and pointed it at Rittenhouse prior to being shot.
  • Grosskreutz conducted interviews after his appearance on the stand and contradicted his own testimony.
  • Joe Scarborough claimed Rittenhouse discharged 60 rounds of ammunition. His statement was so wildly wrong it was referenced in the closing arguments to show the behavior of the press during the trial.
Kenosha Protests Shootings
Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP

These are not even close to being all of the errors, misrepresentations, and lies that have been broadcast about the case. It has been a complete circus of narrative-building and slanderous representations in the media.  But the great thing about all of this is there was a tonic to all this delirium — we were able to see the facts for ourselves. By watching the trial, we did not have to rely upon the melodramatic musers with an axe to grind; we could see and hear things for our own edification.

The fact that cameras were allowed in this courtroom had a two-pronged effect — we could ascertain the facts of the trial, and it exposed the media as the corrupt cabal that they are. Joe Scarborough unintentionally proved there was a need for these proceedings to be televised. After he was shamed for delivering amazingly inaccurate facts about the case he raged in defense, declaring he was supposedly embarrassed on behalf of the defense lawyer for mentioning his irrationality on the official record of the court.

But then Joe took an amazing step further. He lashed out at anyone who heard his ridiculous claim that Kyle Rittenhouse discharged 60 rounds and took his words as being accurate. Consider this for a moment; a TV pundit is mad at the audience for listening to what he said and believing him. 

The noteworthy part is that Scarborough makes my point for me. Since we were able to follow the trial, his asinine charge was refuted in short order. He was called out, and his corrections were then issued in response, all because we could see the facts, evidence, and testimony ourselves. If we did not have cameras in that court, think of just how many of the falsehoods dispensed in the press would have become entrenched in the public opinion.

Now, yes, there is a tendency of the cameras to have an effect on the proceedings in a trial. The participants surely behave in a different manner with the arrival of the Panaflex battalion. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that the media does not behave in a different fashion; they have their agenda to push out, and they are incapable of steering their coverage in any other fashion. The remedy is for us to see things for ourselves and then measure just how poorly the media is behaving.

You may not like the appearance of roaches, but try to imagine what they are up to if you do not flip the lights on.

Thomas Binger
Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool