The Big Talk discusses the Rittenhouse trial, possible new laws for internet algorithms, and the potential for a Senator Oz

CHAMBERSBURG – Every weekday morning on First News, the local – live morning radio information show with Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen features the big talk topics and opinion from local Attorney Clint Barkdoll.

On November 10, the Big Talk looked at the trial for Kyle Rittenhouse during protest riots, you may be able to get information that’s been directed at you through algorithms and could we see a Senator Oz in PA?

Rittenhouse trial may create more questions than answers

In the summer of 2020, Kenosha, Wisconsin, erupted in protests and riots over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

In an effort to protect property at a car dealership, Kyle Rittenhouse armed himself and stood his ground.

Rittenhouse ended up killing two men and injuring a third in the subsequent riots.

Rittenhouse’s trial has been ongoing for days.

Ryan said, “The amount of people that couldn’t wait to wag their finger and accuse and without any information, when will they be held accountable? I saw all sorts of Instagram posts and social media posts I’m starting to see now some of the talking heads in media doing a backflip to apologize for making the assumption. How does Kyle’s lawyers start going after these Instagrammers out there that may think they know stuff when they’re just a bunch of dopes?”

Barkoll said, “It remains to be seen what the jury does with this case. So the prosecution rested yesterday and several of their witnesses seemed more favorable to the defense than they did for the prosecution. So that was a big takeaway. I think the big thing to keep an eye on today is Rittenhouse’s whole case is centered on a self-defense claim. I think he’s going to have to testify and we’ll find out today, does he take the stand? This gets into very treacherous territory for him because once he starts to testify, to your point about social media, there were all these pre-trial motions from the prosecution that they may be allowed to cross examine him based on his own social media posts in the days and weeks leading up to this shooting and the days and weeks after and that’s going to maybe put him in a difficult situation. We’ll see how that unfolds today. If he ends up getting acquitted, he potentially could have libel, defamation, slander claims against people in the media, people on social media, but also remember in this case, he’s charged with a lot of different crimes, so even if he gets acquitted on the homicide charges, he very well could get convicted on these lesser crimes, the assault crimes, the gun charges, various other things that could still land him in jail, prison for many, many years. We’ll see what happens, but really today is going to be the key day. Does he testify or not? I think he’s going to have to testify.”

Jansen said, “Some are starting to point out, though, there was indications these charges should not have been brought. That there was enough evidence in the beginning for prosecutors to see this was not a winnable case on murder. And that perhaps it is mob rule controlling these prosecutors, making them afraid to do anything but what the mob wants. Now there’s even the idea and I can’t believe they even let cell phones into this jury room, that these jurors were photographed and there’s an idiot on social media saying how we have to make sure we get a similar outcome to other stories, which is so funny because they’re making this into a racial thing when the three people that were shot were all white. Here’s the danger of threatened jurors now on top of mob rule influencing prosecutors. What does this say about our justice system?”

Barkdoll said, “And remember last week there was the juror in this case that was already dismissed that made the joke to a deputy sheriff that then had to be dismissed from the jury. If you’re picked in one of these juries are we getting into a situation where you’re going to have trouble finding people who want to serve because of the dynamics that you’re describing? These people are placed in a really difficult situation. We know of cases where these jurors, threats are directed at them, various other things. It’s certainly a question, but again, we’re not even halfway through the trial at this point. There’s still a lot to go. We’ll see what the defense rolls out. The prosecution can still then come back and do what’s called rebuttal evidence. We don’t know what that might look like. They, of course, then have to do their closing, so this trial could still go on for quite a long time and we simply don’t know yet what all the evidence is going to be.”

You could have more evidence of what big internet companies push on you if new law passes

US lawmakers want to require social media platforms to let uses see content not shown them by the algorithms.  

Barkdoll said, “I think this is a great idea and this is a bipartisan bill that was introduced yesterday in the US House. It came out of that House Judiciary Committee Anti-Trust Subcommittee. They are the ones that have been so carefully scrutinizing Facebook and Google about the use and abuse of these algorithms. So they’ve introduced this bill, Republicans and Democrats, that would require these big internet platforms to show you, the consumer, information that would not have been directed to you but for the algorithm. So you would essentially get this whole list of other information outside of what they call the filter bubble. So it would totally change the way you interact with these platforms. You would essentially get the list that the platform prescribes based on the algorithms. Then you would get what I’ll call the organic list that would not have been generated outside of the algorithms. I think there’s a lot of support for this. If I had to predict, I think this thing gets through the House. There’s people in both parties that support it. The Senate seems like the vote could be there to support it to the extent they’ve been scrutinizing this as well. So I think there’s a really good chance this could become law.”

Could Dr. Oz run for PA’s Senate seat?

Dr. Oz is thinking about throwing his hat in the ring in Pennsylvania as one of about 20 candidates lining up to take Pat Toomey’s seat in the Senate.  

Barkdoll said, “Like we were talking about earlier in the week about the governor’s race, every week we’re getting more people jumping into this race. Dr. Oz, his ties to Pennsylvania are dubious at best. He’s never really lived here, but it sounds like he’s had an address in Montgomery County where he voted a couple of times. It looks like he is going to announce he’s running. He’ll be a Republican candidate and I know as crazy as this sounds people listening to this because what background is he really bringing to this? The wildcard though in these races are if we suddenly are up to 25, 30, maybe 35 candidates, you could have a wild scenario next spring where someone like a Dr. Oz could emerge successfully from a primary with even 10 percent of the vote. That may be the strategy he’s looking at and all of these other candidates are looking at. The more that jump in, the more diluted the pool becomes and more likely you could generate a winner with a very small fraction of the electorate.”

Jansen pointed out, “It’s the fame factor, but what really bothers me here, I wish people would remember, this is Oprah Winfrey’s he’s America’s doctor. Oprah Winfrey. I’m not going to vote for anybody that was supported so much by Oprah Winfrey or thinking there’s any influence left of her on that person because she is the antithesis in terms of her ideological beliefs for what I think most Republicans would want in a Senator. I don’t see that being a strong backbone to fight against some of the really risky things that are going on right now in our country.”

“Agreed,” Bardkoll said, “You know, this Dr. Oz, if he really goes under the microscope of a primary in the media, he has a lot of controversial things in his background, which I’m sure are all going to come out and you’re right, it’s the fame factor, though if you’re looking at a ballot. Let’s imagine you walk in to vote next spring and on the ballot, you see 30 or 40 names, there are a percentage of people that are going to vote for a name they recognize. He would be the most famous, most recognizable name on the ballot, and again, you get even 10 percent of voters that make that election, he very well could make it through a primary.”