July 12, 2013
George Zimmerman
George Zimmerman (Gary W. Green /Associated Press)

On this morning’s “Fox & Friends,” criminal-justice expert Geraldo Rivera fielded a question about a ruling in the George Zimmerman trial, under which the jury will be allowed to consider a manslaughter conviction. As is his wont, Rivera went off, rolling MSNBC’s Al Sharpton into his analysis, in a rather culpatory manner:

I thought that manslaughter was the only possible rap they could have brought from the get-go, because it requires no more than culpable or criminal negligence, unlike murder in the second degree, which requires a depraved mind and ill will and hatred and all the rest. It never was that. This was a case brought because of political pressure — race politics in this country. I hate to say it: I hold the Rev. Al Sharpton in much higher regard than many of my colleagues. I won’t speak for any of you presently, but I think I do, but I totally believe that the Rev. Al is the catalyst behind the murder-two charge six weeks after the incident. I believe the original prosecutor got it right. I think it is a self-defense situation, a classic self-defense when you strip it of all the trappings. That should have been the charge — manslaughter at best, if any charge was going to be brought. The fact that they are resorting to it now is a sign of the desperation of the prosecution. They know how weak their case is. They have zero chance of convicting this man on murder charges.

Should the jury align with Rivera’s prediction, look for other voices on Fox News and elsewhere to point fingers at Sharpton. And for Sharpton to lash back with a fierce rebuttal. Cable news could be particularly depraved next week.

Oh, wait: It already is. Rivera didn’t stop with his critique of Sharpton and the prosecution. He went on, in a manner that harks back to last year, when he said that Trayvon Martin’s hoodie was “as much responsible” for his death “as George Zimmerman was.” Here’s what he said this morning when asked about the outcome of the trial:

I see those six ladies [in the jury] putting themselves on that rainy night, in that housing complex that has just been burglarized by three or four different groups of black youngsters from the adjacent community. So it’s a dark night, a 6-foot-2-inch hoodie-wearing stranger is in the immediate housing complex. How would the ladies of that jury have reacted? I submit that if they were armed, they would have shot and killed Trayvon Martin a lot sooner than George Zimmerman did. This is self-defense.

Just another morning on “Fox & Friends.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.