The interview with the freshly acquitted Rittenhouse brought an audience of more than 5 million viewers, Mediaite reported.
Competing primetime shows Anderson Cooper 360 and All in With Chris Hayes drew 792,000 and 1.2 million viewers, respectively.
Other shows on Fox News had very successful nights, too, with The Five reaching 3.72 million total viewers and Hannity reaching 3.28 million.During the Monday night interview, Rittenhouse told Carlson to President Joe Biden following his acquittal.
During the Monday night interview, Rittenhouse told this to President Joe Biden following his acquittal, "Mr. President, if I could say one thing to you, I would urge you to go back and watch the trial, and understand the facts before you make a statement," Rittenhouse said, referencing a Biden campaign ad from September 2020 in which he likened him to the "white supremacists" former President Donald Trump "refused to disavow." The ad featured a picture of Rittenhouse during the Kenosha riots side by side with images of far-right militias and political groups.
Before airing his interview with Rittenhouse, Carlson declared, "During the course of our long conversation, Kyle Rittenhouse struck us as bright, decent, sincere, dutiful, and hardworking." Carlson went on to say that Rittenhouse is "exactly the kind of person you would want many more of in your country. He's not especially political. He never wanted to be the symbol of anything." Later in the program, Carlson described Rittenhouse as a "sweet kid."
None of that is unusual, given how Carlson has covered the case. However, it shows how the power sector of Right-wing media, led by Carlson, continues to elevate Rittenhouse as a role model for others.
Some voices in Conservative media have pushed back against this attitude. Notably, Carlson's Fox News colleague, Gillian Turner, pointed out earlier on Monday that while Rittenhouse was acquitted, "he's not a hero here." As she said, "There are no heroes, there are no winners. There is no victory lap for Kyle or anybody else to take."
But Turner's microphone pales in comparison to Carlson's. And it's difficult to see the interview Carlson carried with Rittenhouse, in which he slammed the news media and others as something other than a victory lap.
An hour after Rittenhouse's interview with possibly the most prominent Right-wing conspiracy theorist in the business aired, his attorney, Mark Richards, arrived on CNN and described his client in a different light. Chris Cuomo asked about Carlson, Fox News, and whether Rittenhouse is aligned with such units in Right-wing media. Richards answered, "I don't think he is...I don't think he is a crazy Right-winger."