*The real question behind this new case of foot-in-mouth disease regarding the Trayvon Martin story is not why Geraldo Rivera made his asinine statements. It’s really why anyone would choose to listen to him in the first place.
Geraldo Rivera is a walking and (unfortunately) talking joke of a journalist. It’s a shame, because at one point, he actually made an impact – check out his groundbreaking and horrifying 1972 reports on a Staten Island facility for the mentally retarded if you’re still unsure. Then he went and visited Al Calpone’s vaults. After that, it’s been a long, shameful decline into the worst excesses of trash, tabloid journalism, punctuated by brief, mustachioed bits of controversy; everyone seems to have forgotten his massive screw-up during the Gulf War, where he inadvertently gave away positions of American soldiers (notably lampooned by Stephen Colbert here). He’s less of a journalist and more of a sideshow act now, clinging to the fringes of cable news and popping off these “shocking” comments, grasping for attention and pandering to the lowest common denominators in viewership.
Yet, he keeps falling upwards – still broadcast into the homes of viewers on a regular basis, still having an opportunity to peddle his thoughts to the public.It’s one of the real shameful things in modern American culture – the mouthpieces of hate and ignorance continue to have a pulpit even after they’ve spouted off these idiotic statements. It’s been almost a month since Rush Limbaugh’s vile attacks on a Georgetown law student – but he still remains on the radio, broadcasting every day.
Rivera has issued his apologies and he’s taken a very public (and a very deserved) brow-beating. However, the odds are that some news organization will take another chance on him, and he’ll be back on the air, and another one of his idiotic statements will filter back into the public consciousness. Such is the way of life in an American news landscape dominated by the 24-hour networks – and we’re all the worse for it.