News stories about crime are sites of gendered and racialised vulnerability politics, where different and sometimes conflictual accounts of openness to harm encounter one another in representation and struggle for public recognition. This chapter inquires into the kind of political work that the figure of the “white male vigilante” performs within that politics. Looking closely at three examples of the trope from Australian journalism, the analysis shows how the constructed moral ambivalence of the white male vigilante helps animate a politics of “cruel benevolence” in which Black vulnerability to white supremacist violence is mediated as a matter of moral concern only to fortify the moral case for police intervention against Black migrant communities in Australia. While most scholarship on mediated vigilantism places the white male vigilante in an essentially antagonistic relationship to state power, this chapter proposes that the ultimate symbolic function of the trope, in the context of crime news reporting, is to re-enshrine the necessity of prerogative state power (in the form of crime control) and so to culturally reassert the moral legitimacy of the “protective” patriarchal state.