Fox News host Jesse Watters, whose own colleague once publicly accused him of spreading fake news, has opinions about the media.
Specifically, Watters chastised news outlets for running photos of women and children fleeing tear gas fired by U.S. border agents on Sunday, suggesting — erroneously — that the coverage deceptively omitted mentioning men assaulting those federal agents.
But Watters wanted co-host Geraldo Rivera to weigh in.
Rivera probably knew what that could mean, calling himself the “designated piñata” on Fox News for the perception that he has marched out of step with some of the news channel’s hosts whom President Trump has praised, flattered and invited onstage during campaign-style rallies.
Rivera quickly grew emotional in a long, on-air monologue.
“I want to say I am ashamed,” he said Monday on “The Five.” “This tear gas choked me. We treat these people — these economic refugees — as if they’re zombies from ‘The Walking Dead.’ We arrested 42 people; eight of them were women with children.
"We have to deal with this problem humanely and with compassion. These are not invaders. Stop using these military analogies. This is absolutely painful to watch.”
Rivera continued: “We are a nation of immigrants. These are desperate people. They walked 2,000 miles. Why? Because they want to rape your daughter or steal your lunch? No. Because they want a job! . . . We suspend our humanity when it comes to this issue. And I fear that it is because they look different than the mainstream.”
His co-hosts shouldn’t have been surprised with his take: Shortly before “The Five” went live, Rivera had tweeted a version of his “Walking Dead” line.
He had also noted Monday morning that the tear-gas episode made him “nauseous.”
As Fox viewers watched the argument unfold, another co-host, Greg Gutfeld, said he understood the humanity peering through the border fencing.
But in a brief departure from conservatives and Trump administration officials who have leaned on the image of aggressive men throwing rocks, Gutfeld described the Central American migrants as something else — dupes who have been suckered by rights groups into creating emotionally charged moments.
“These may be good people, but they are being used,” he countered without evidence. And, Gutfeld added, there must be a “process” through which to enter the country.
Trump and Mexican officials have sought to hold asylum seekers in Mexico in a reversal of long-standing policies that allow them to wait in the United States while their claims move through the U.S. courts.
“Of course there has to be a process,” Rivera said. “But we need a process that recognizes they are a part of our continent. We can pay attention to our neighbors, for goodness' sake, how have we destabilized these governments over the decades — ”
Gutfeld cut him off. Rivera had apparently opened the aperture too far.
The camera cut to Watters, who blew his cheeks in resignation, as if to suggest that all this is a lot more complicated than it appears.