- Fox News anchor Chris Wallace pushed back against panelists on a Fox News talk show Thursday after one pundit appeared to justify vigilante justice at the Kenosha protests by blaming state leadership.
- “On the argument of vigilante justice, when you have no police around to defend businesses and people who are being attacked and their livelihoods burned to the ground, there is a void that is filled,” Katie Pavlich said.
- Earlier this week, Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch, Illinois, allegedly shot and killed two protesters and injured a third at the protests.
- He was arrested by Illinois police Wednesday and charged with homicide the following day.
- “Just as it is fair to say that rioting and looting is a completely inappropriate response to George Floyd or Jacob Blake, vigilante justice is a completely inappropriate response to the rioting in the street,” Wallace said.
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Fox News anchor Chris Wallace pushed back against other Fox News hosts Thursday after appearing to justify the 17-year-old suspected Kenosha shooter.
“Just as it is fair to say that rioting and looting is a completely inappropriate response to George Floyd or Jacob Blake, vigilante justice is a completely inappropriate response to the rioting in the street,” the veteran anchor said. “There is no justification for what happened in Kenosha. And vigilante justice is a crime and should be punished as a crime.”
Wallace’s comments came during a conversation on Fox News’ talk show “Outnumbered.” Katie Pavlich, a commentator on the show, criticized Democratic Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he rejected offers for additional law enforcement from the Trump administration. (Evers has actually accepted more assistance from the National Guard.)
“When it comes to how do you stop this and why people are doing what they’re doing, you’re making a choice as a leader not to stop riots at the beginning,” Pavlich said. “… This is the choice leaders are making not to stop the violence initially.”
Pavlich went on to say “on the argument of vigilante justice, when you have no police around to defend businesses and people who are being attacked and their livelihoods burned to the ground, there is a void that is filled.”
“Outnumbered” host Melissa Francis agreed with Pavlich’s remark: “That’s a great point,” she said. “The vigilantes are just as much the fault as those local leaders who have failed us miserably.”
—Peter Wade 🤦♂️ (@brooklynmutt) August 27, 2020
Earlier this week, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, shot and killed two protesters and injured a third at the Kenosha protests, according to prosecutors. The protests were sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man. Rittenhouse was arrested by Illinois police Wednesday and charged with homicide the following day.
According to social media posts, Rittenhouse appeared to idolize law enforcement and guns, having expressed his support for the police and the “Blue Lives Matter” movement.
Wallace jumped in after Pavlich placed blame on state officials for vigilante justice at the protests.
“There seemed to be the implication that somehow vigilante justice was understandable or justified by the lack of sufficient police action and authority and presence in some of the cities,” he said.
Francis interrupted Wallace, saying “That’s not what was said,” and Pavlich repeatedly asking who had made that point.
“I just got to say this, just as it’s completely a disconnect,” Wallace replied. “That seemed to be the implication that … vigilantes were filling the void from police,” adding that there was “no justification” for the killings.
Francis said it was a “shame” that Wallace “misunderstood the end of that segment there.” Pavlich echoed the point, saying “nobody said that.”
“You were saying to fill a void,” Wallace responded. “I don’t think that’s right.”
Tucker Carlson also appeared to rationalize Rittenhouse’s actions a day earlier
Thursday’s disagreement comes as other Fox News hosts had seemingly justified vigilante justice as a byproduct of state leaders rejecting federal law enforcement presence amid the ongoing protests.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson drew criticism following his comments about the Kenosha protests Wednesday night. During his segment, Carlson played the clip of Rittenhouse falling to the ground and shots ringing out as protesters appeared to approach him.
“What does that amount to? We’re unsure, a court will decide whether what you just saw qualifies as self-defense,” he said. “We don’t have more details. We do know why it all happened, though.”
—Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) August 27, 2020
The Fox News host slammed “people in charge from the governor of Wisconsin on down” for “refusing to enforce the law,” saying “Kenosha has devolved into anarchy because the authorities in charge of the city abandoned it.”
“So are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder?” Carlson said. “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”