Geraldo pushes co-hosts to limit, says Fox News doesn’t deserve ratings if network doesn’t blame cops

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Geraldo Rivera tried on Friday to shame his co-hosts on Fox News’ “The Five” for not being cognizant enough of the “anguish” surrounding the deaths of criminal suspects at the hands of police, but his fellow co-hosts weren’t having his “namby pamby stuff.”

A segment on the shooting of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old suspect who’d run from police after allegedly firing some sort of gun at a passing vehicle, began with co-host Jesse Watters urging the public to consider “both sides.”

“There’s been 97 deaths in the line of duty already this year for police officers — two officers stabbed to death, 13 officers killed by a vehicle, 15 killed by gunfire, four killed by assault,” he said.

Fellow co-host Sean Duffy agreed, adding that the deaths of suspects like Toledo and Daunte Wright could have all been avoided had the suspects not resisted arrest and placed the cops in a situation where they had feared for their lives.

But Rivera didn’t seem to entirely appreciate this willingness to acknowledge the experience of the cops who’re tasked with risking their lives daily to protect the public.

Listen to how he responded below:

(Video: Fox News)

I love cops and I think the cops have a very tough job and they risk everything every time they go to work, but I beg you to understand the anguish in the families of color who are watching the news on a nightly basis, looking at their child and worrying when that child goes out that that child may never come back and fearing the cops,” he said.

Maybe in other neighborhoods people look at cops ‘oh our friends, oh what a relief there’s the police officer.’ That’s not the case in many areas in this country, and all the protests that you saw last summer — we’ve emphasized the riots and the looting and condemned them appropriately — but that represents a real reflection of the anguish and rage about police violence that’s out there,” he added.

He continued by arguing that he and his colleagues at Fox News “don’t deserve” the high ratings they’ve consistently received if they “don’t recognize the anguish of” those who’re forced to watch their community members die on camera.

Just to be clear, polling data shows that the vast majority of Americans of all races appreciate the presence of the police in their communities.

First up to respond to Rivera’s emotional plea was Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, who, prior to becoming a TV personality, spent the bulk of her adult life prosecuting criminals on behalf of their victims.

Geraldo, the problem is that … these police officers make a split-second decision, kill or be killed. He saw a gun. In less than a second, he made a shot. Now afterwards, we found out that Adam Toledo had gunshot residue on his hand. That tells me that he was shooting,” she said.

So stop with the namby-pamby stuff. What we’ve got to understand is that there’s a war on the streets, and if you cared about the cops who go out every day and risk their lives, you’ve got to give them the right to defend themselves when they’re confronted with a gun,” she added.

She added that critics like Rivera are focused on the wrong things. While Toledo’s death was tragic, he was a “criminal” — not a victim. The true victims, she suggested, are the people suspects like Toledo victimize.

“He is a criminal. This is a war. This is not the time to feel sorry for anybody. Stay off the streets and stay out of the gangs and put the guns down, and you won’t have this problem,” she said.

Speaking next, co-host Martha MacCallum brought the discussion back around to Watters’ point about seeing “both sides.”

“There’s nobody, Geraldo, who doesn’t feel the pain of the loss of that child. I think you’re right, and I think that Jeanine is right. You have to be able to understand both sides of this equation,” she said.

“Those police officers, he could have very well been the one who did not go home that night. When you start running in the streets with guns, something bad is going to happen. And I think Sean made a great point as well. The message that needs to come to all of these people is that you should not resist arrest,” she added.

Earlier in the segment, Duffy had also drawn attention to the fact that Toledo had been running around “at 2:00 in the morning” with a gun, versus being in bed on a school night.

“Why wasn’t Adam in school? Why was he out at 2:00 o’clock in the morning? Why did he have a gun? Why was he part of a gang? Where were his parents? Where were social services? And why in the hell hasn’t the teacher unions opened up their schools so he was in bed going to school the next day instead of being a gang member?” he’d said.

Vivek Saxena

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