Geraldo Rivera, host of the Fox News show Geraldo at Large, is facing an angry backlash for suggesting that Trayvon Martin, the black Florida teen shot dead by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, was targeted because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt that made him look like a criminal. "Every time you see someone stick up a 7-Eleven, the kid is wearing a hoodie," Rivera said on Fox & Friends. "I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was." Should Rivera's bosses throw the book at him for making such an "incendiary" remark?
Rivera deserves a harsh punishment: Rivera's "mind-boggling" assertion "sends out a very dangerous message," says Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice: That it's "understandable" for someone to shoot a kid who's wearing a hoodie. If Rivera were "on any other network than Fox he'd be demoted." Fortunately, Rivera's own words have already discredited him more than getting suspended or fired would.
"Geraldo Rivera jumps shark: Suggests Trayvon Martin's hoodie contributed to death"
But his bosses may give him a medal: Fox "can't admit that a young black male was innocent," says Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog, because it has long told its audience that African Americans "are evil or criminal or rendered incapable of responsible citizenship after years of dwelling on the 'liberal plantation.'" With national outrage over Martin's death boiling over, the channel's bosses can't push that bogus ideology themselves, so they "let the Latino guy take the hit." Rivera did them proud.
"Geraldo, you lost me at 'responsible'"
Actually, he has a point... sort of: "I do get what Rivera is saying," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Clothes make a statement to those around us, and there are people who connect hoodies and crime. But "that doesn't mean that baggy pants or a hoodie makes you complicit in your own death when someone shoots you" because your attire scares him. Rivera's hardly the first person to fall for the "blame-the-victim impulse," although he did take it to an absurd new level.
"Geraldo: Blame the hoodie for Trayvon Martin shooting as much as the shooter"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- Israel has only two choices: Eliminate the Palestinians or make peace
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- 9 things you probably didn't know about the moon
- 10 things you need to know today: July 22, 2014
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 29 adorable slang terms for sex (from the last 600 years)
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why America is duty-bound to help Iraqi Christians
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
Subscribe to the Week