“The president’s words matter,” Dan Abrams scolded on Monday, “as do the vice-president’s.” So do those of media outlets, especially when they manufacture “facts” in the middle of coverage of a murder trial. Abrams offers up a lengthy pox-upon-all-houses rant about irresponsibility surrounding the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse and the impact it has had on understanding exactly what the jury did.
However, Abrams saves his most potent criticisms for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who are supposed to uphold and defend the Constitution. Instead, Abrams accuses them of having “impugn[ed] our entire judicial system” with comments made entirely out of ignorance for the purposes of personal political gain. This picks up at the 13:32 mark, if the video doesn’t start there:
Abrams — who is a legal analyst and also the founder of Mediaite — introduced the segment saying, “I’m really frustrated about the reactions to the Rittenhouse verdict. A verdict that surprised really no one who was watching the evidence and remotely understood the law.”
He then explained that the jury’s verdict “was not a judgment of Kyle Rittenhouse but a legal question of whether prosecutors disproved self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.”
He then went on to look at the reactions of Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden — who said the verdict left him “angry and concerned.”
“Angry and concerned the jurors did their duty and came to a fairly obvious legal?” Abrams questioned before noting that Biden said he did not watch the trial.
Normally, Abrams likes to keep politics at arms’ length when he can, especially when it comes to trials — and wonders why others can’t do the same. As part of that criticism, Abrams also rebukes conservative politicians and commentators who rushed to make Rittenhouse a hero. However, those kinds of comments don’t undermine the legal system, whereas the Biden and Harris reactions feed a nihilistic and completely unjustified rage over a verdict that is not only understandable but practically assured from what happened in court.
That’s nothing more than a cynical exploitation of the jury for political gain, Abrams insists:
He [Rittenhouse] isn’t a hero either, but in this case it’s worse for our leaders to try and impugn our entire judicial system to try to get people riled up for political purposes. It’s a point I made before. It’s a point I am going continue to make here. You will hear me calling out politicians on both sides of the aisle who try to use the courts for political gain.
That includes more than just politicians, as Abrams says after the break. He goes after the media for disseminating false information and propaganda as fact, and brings some receipts. We see Joe Scarborough claiming Rittenhouse fired 60 rounds, a claim that Scarborough retracted and apologized for airing. (It was eight rounds.) Also on MSNBC was Al Sharpton and his claim that Rittenhouse “cross[ed] state lines” with an AR-15 when the trial made it clear that the rifle had always been in Wisconsin — and it wouldn’t have mattered even if Rittenhouse had carried it into Wisconsin anyway. In fact, all of Abrams’ citations come from MSNBC, the worst offender by far but not the only offender in the disinformation campaign surrounding the trial.
If the media had reported the facts rather than constructed a preferred narrative, the verdict would not have surprised or dismayed most Americans. Even if the commentators would have acknowledged the facts rather than ignore or even lie about the case, the debate would have been more useful and rational.
“The point is that offering nuanced commentary isn’t good for business,” Abrams concludes, “it’s just good for the country.” This episode has demonstrated which politicians and which media outlets have chosen business over country. Kudos to Abrams for this lengthy, well-considered takedown.
Addendum: Bring back Live PD!