By: Shyanne Reid
NeSince late May the black lives matter movement has erupted. Incited by the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who was killed by police during an arrest in Minneapolis. Following the death of Floyd supporters of the cause have banded together forming protest, some which have escalated into riots, and inciting conversations over social media. Although the incident with Floyd catalyzed today’s current black live matter protest, his death was not the only one to fuel the movement. After Floyds’ death several black men and women have lost their lives, or in some cases have been severely injured due to the actions of law enforcement. The most recent is Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old African American male who was shot seven times in the back by police in Wisconsin in late August.
Following the shooting of Blake, protesters sprung to action demanding justice, the defunding of the police, and overall pleading to put an end to the reckless treatment of African American citizens by law enforcement.
On August 25th, protesters took to the streets in Wisconsin two days after the shooting of Blake demanding justice, this protest broke out into a riot. Some individuals were also in the area armed. It is said that they were intending to protect local businesses from rioters, among these armed individuals was 17- year-old Kyle Rittenhouse. Throughout the night things began to escalate and Rittenhouse ended up kill two protesters and inuring one.
Although it is unknown how the incident with Rittenhouse, and the first individual he shot started, most of his movement thought out the night was caught on film. As news of the event along with film of the night began to make its way around, different pictures of the 17- year-old shooter began to be presented to the world.
A day after the shooting Fox News published an article entitled “Suspected teen gunman Kyle Rittenhouse spotted cleaning Kenosha graffiti before shooting.” The article identifies Rittenhouse as the “suspected shooter” of three persons. However, one may argue that also focusing on Rittenhouse volunteer work may serve to change people’s view of him. Instead of seeing him as just a killer, readers are given the idea that he is also a good citizen who cares about his community. Although some of the comments under the story do not support the idea that Rittenhouse is just a good citizen others defend his actions. One commenter with the username vba stated “This is a good kid — and your “peaceful” protesters are nothing but thugs.”
On August 31 during a Press Briefing, President Donald Trump was asked about the shooting.
“He was trying to get away from them, I guess; it looks like. And he fell, and then they very violently attacked him. And it was something that we’re looking at right now and it’s under investigation. But I guess he was in very big trouble. He … probably would have been killed,” said President Trump.
In the same press briefing, the president was asked about visiting the Blake family. He told reporters that he had no plans on visiting the family because they wanted to have a lawyer present and he thought that it was “inappropriate”. The president however stated that he spoke to the family’s pastor.
President Trumps’ comments during the press briefing give the impression that he supports one side more than the other.
A day after the president’s press briefing an article was published by the National Review, in which they set forth the argument that Rittenhouse’s lawyer plans to present in court in his defense. President Trumps’ comment on Rittenhouse’s actions was used in that article. This sends the idea that the president supports and defends Rittenhouse.
On August 28, NBC News published a video of film captured the night of the protest. In the video, they break down second-by-second the events of the night. Views can see the first individual chasing Rittenhouse, and that same individual getting shot. Later we see Rittenhouse running away and being attacked by protestors where he fell to the ground and shot two other people. NBC slows this part of the video down and also describes the event taking place in the video. It is then we can see that one of the persons who attack Rittenhouse was caring a gun.
The video posted by NBC is very unbiased. It neither favors Rittenhouse or the protesters. It just presents the events of the night and breaks them down in a way that it could be easily understood.
An article from the Washington Post entitled “Before a fatal shooting, teenage Kenosha suspect idolized the police” does the same thing as NBC with the video of the shooting. In that same article, the Post also gives a deeper idea of who Kyle Rittenhouse was before the shootings. Through the examination of his social media, the post reviled that he was a big supporter of law enforcement. The article also reviled that he had dropped out at high school and was working as a lifeguard.
This article by the Washington Post was also unbiased. It laid forth the fact of the events from the night of the shooting. It also gave a good background of who Rittenhouse was before the shooting.
All of these articles do a good job of telling the facts, however, it is the way that some articles pair certain facts together that put a specific idea in the reader’s mind.