It is no surprise that Fox News would blame Trayvon Martin for his own murder, but the mainstream media’s willingness to sell the distraction is the real problem.
Here is Rivera on Fox and Friends (via Media Matters):
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Let’s talk about the Trayvon Martin case and what’s going on in Florida right now.
GERALDO RIVERA: Well, I have a different take, Brian, on that. I believe that George Zimmerman, the overzealous neighborhood watch captain should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law and if he is criminally liable, he should be prosecuted. But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.
JULIET HUDDY (guest-host): What do you mean?
RIVERA: When you, when you see a kid walking — Juliet — when you see a kid walking down the street, particularly a dark skinned kid like my son Cruz, who I constantly yelled at when he was going out wearing a damn hoodie or those pants around his ankles. Take that hood off, people look at you and they — what do they think? What’s the instant identification, what’s the instant association?
STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Uh-oh.
RIVERA: It’s those crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone sticking up a 7-11, the kid is wearing a hoodie. Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or they get the old lady in the alcove, it’s a kid wearing a hoodie. You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta, you’re gonna be a gangsta wannabe? Well, people are going to perceive you as a menace. That’s what happens. It is an instant reflexive action. Remember Juan Williams, our colleague? Our brilliant colleague? He got in trouble with NPR because he said Muslims in formal garb at the airport conjure a certain reaction in him or response in him? That’s an automatic reflex. Juan wasn’t defending it. He was explaining that that’s what happens when he sees these particular people in that particular place.
When you see a black or Latino youngster, particularly on the street, you walk to the other side of the street. You try to avoid that confrontation. Trayvon Martin’s you know, god bless him, he’s an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hand. He didn’t deserve to die. But I’ll bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that — that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way.
To anyone who has ever seen Fox News before, this tactic is par for the course. Fox News and the people that they employ will destroy any victim to defend the right wing cause, but the reason why Fox is able to insert right wing blame the hoodie/blame the victim propaganda out there is because the mainstream media doesn’t challenge them. We will live in an era where the corporatized media plays blind, deaf, and dumb on a daily basis.
The right desperately needed a distraction because in the aftermath of the murder of Trayvon Martin, Americans were starting to ask questions about the Stand Your Ground law that has allowed the local police to claim that they can’t arrest shooter George Zimmerman. Fox News needed to shift the focus away from the real issues racism, gun violence, and power of the NRA and ALEC in crafting and passing state legislation. In short, they needed to find a way to blame the victim.
Geraldo Rivera gave them their rationale. What Rivera floated was nothing more than a new spin on the old she deserved it because of the way she was dressed defense. His statements, which he first tested on Twitter last night, were designed to make headlines. They are supposed to get the media attention off of a cold blooded killing and focus it on a distraction. (Hoodies? That’s crazy. Who would say that?)
The more time we spend talking about Geraldo Rivera and hoodies. The less time we spend talking about the dubious circumstances under which an innocent young man lost his life.
Fox News understands something very important about the mainstream media. The corporate media will always react over the top inflammatory remarks in the same way that a baby gets transfixed by jangling car keys.
All Fox News had to do was jangle some crazy remarks about hoodies out there, and the media immediately stopped talking about Trayvon Martin.
Always the willing victim, the mainstream media has bought Fox News’s propaganda hook, line, and sinker.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association