The Washington Post

Geraldo’s hoodie comments: Definitely not a hoax

Despite my hopes, the Fox News segment this morning in which Geraldo Rivera blamed the hoodie for the death of Trayvon Martin is no hoax. Here’s the stuff that I figured was phony:

I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters, particularly, to not let their young children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.

Convinced that Geraldo hadn’t actually said that — and that it all was a brilliant audio-video Internet hoax — I tuned in to Geraldo’s radio show on KABC this afternoon.

Bad news. Geraldo didn’t double down on his hoodie blaming; he octupled down on the hoodie blaming. Some moments from the radio broadcast:

Moment No. 1: Caller protests that Geraldo’s approach to hoodies amounts to blaming victims for the trouble they encounter. It’s like blaming a female rape victim because she dresses provocatively. Geraldo responds:

It’s different because the sexy girl . . . is no threat to anybody. If you see a girl dressed in a provocative way, she’s no danger to you. If you see someone in a hoodie . . . you’re going to walk to the other side [of the street].

Moment No. 2: Caller comes on the show and starts screaming at Geraldo, in a way that the Erik Wemple Blogger couldn’t hear, let alone understand, though it was clear that the caller wasn’t happy with Geraldo. We could understand only what Geraldo was saying:

I’m a racist? Do you know anything about me?

Moment No. 3: Geraldo promotes himself as a humanitarian:

Racist killings have gone on in this country and they’re lamentable.. . . I’m trying to save lives.

Moment No. 4: Geraldo’s hoodie ban applies only to neighborhoods that are rough and tumble. A “retirement community,” he says, isn’t the setting he’s talking about. A “college campus,” he says, isn’t the setting he’s talking about — “that’s not nighttime in the neighborhood.” So the Retreat at Twin Lakes, the gated community in Sanford, Fla., is the “neighborhood”?

Moment No. 5: Geraldo says that “with crazy people carrying guns, the last thing you’d want to do is give them a reason to call it . . . justified.” Which is where the hoodie comes in, obviously.

Moment No. 6: Caller claims that it was raining around the time that Martin was shot dead. Geraldo responds: “I have heard that and it would explain why he had the hoodie up.”

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