MSNBC banned at Rittenhouse trial


KENOSHA (WKOW) --All MSNBC journalists are bannedfrom going into the Kenosha County Courthouse until after Kyle Rittenhouse's trial ends because a freelancer for the network told Kenosha police officers an MSNBC supervisor told him to follow the jury bus Wednesday night. 

"It would go without much thinking that someone who is following a jury bus, that is a very, it's [an] extremely serious matter," Judge Bruce Schroeder said in court Thursday.

In a statement, NBC News said the journalist was not trying to contact or photograph any members of the jury. But the news organization did not say whether he was following the jury bus. 

Kathleen Bartzen Culver, the director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at UW-Madison, says journalists covering trials need to look beyond the letter of the law and consider the ethics of their reporting. 

"We have ethical obligations that we should not interfere with that right to a fair trial," she said. 

She said Schroeder's ban on MSNBC personnel was an attempt to preserve that right for Rittenhouse. 

"It's a pretty dramatic move, but I would imagine the judge was very concerned about the initial reports and reacted immediately," Bartzen Culver said. 

She said high-profile trials like Rittenhouse's often draw national media attention, which leads to out-of-town reporters "parachuting" in for a few days. That can lead to confusion and problems if those reporters aren't familiar with local court rules. 

"You can imagine a national reporter not knowing what the cameras and the courts' rules are in Wisconsin, for instance," she said. 

However, she cautioned reporters to learn those rules because even one reporter breaking a rule can have a larger impact on overall media access to cover trials. 

"Their behavior affects other reporters, as well," Bartzen Culver said. "When national news media do parachute into a community, that's going to have an impact on the local and regional journalists who've been trying hard to cover that case." 

She said Schroeder's ban on MSNBC doesn't violate journalists' First Amendment rights because the pool video feed of the trial means MSNBC's audience can know what's happening in the courtroom even if the network's reporters can't be inside. 

More at WKOW 27 News


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