The Media Gets Suckered by Fox News’s Blame The Hoodie Distraction

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.

25 Replies to “The Media Gets Suckered by Fox News’s Blame The Hoodie Distraction”

  1. I wear a hoodie. I’m a middle aged woman. I get cold a lot.

    Every teen in America regardless of color wears a hoodie.

    Get over it. This is not the cause. RACISM is the cause.

  2. I understand, BTW, that he did NOT have the hoodie on at first, and pulled it up later ONLY AFTER Zimmerman started following him. What a crock.

  3. IMHO, the key question here is, would Rivera and the others who are trying to minimize the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen, at the hands of an armed Zimmerman feel the same way if it were their kid? If their answer is no, they should sit down and shut up because they’re attempting to apply a different standard to justify why it was right for Zimmerman to kill Trayvon Martin–a standard that they wouldn’t apply if it were their own kid in a similar situation, and that’s the problem with statements like Rivera’s.

  4. Dear God.
    I just checked. I own 5 sweat shirts. 3 of them have hoods.
    I am 57, white with gray hair.
    DO I have to worry?

  5. When I see anyone wearing a hoodie, I assume their ears are cold. Of course, cold ears are a sure sign of villainy to come. After all, Milton Friedman must have worn them (in Chicago, you only wear hats for the exercise you get chasing them down the street).

  6. I realize the lack of a proper antecedent garbled the foregoing, but I submit Milton Friedman was villainous even for having ears.

  7. Exactly.

    That’s why we older white women who are hoodie-wearers are weighing in.

    This is not about hoodies. This is about RACISM.

    And anyone who blames this victim is despicable. The operative word is VICTIM, not perp, not irresponsible, not anything else – VICTIM OF RACISM.


  8. We all know @GeraldoRivera caught Syphilis from Al Capone in the vaults that contained no booty. He hasn’t had any credibility since and he is the perfect foil for Fox right along with Doocy and Kilmeade.

  9. I swear it’s getting more and more obvious.

    Hoodies being a sign of gang membership or criminality or anything like that… sheesh. I see hoodies on campus on a regular basis. I see people who wear them in the heat… I guess they’re “cold-blooded” as I’ve known people to wear sweaters when I’m dripping.

    Next they’ll be saying that headbands are a sign of gang membership or criminality. I’ve been wearing a headband for many years… it’s a symbol (to me) of who and what I am as well as a very effective way of keeping my hair under control. I started wearing it when I saw how it looked on some of my friends/kinfolk in my tribe, and liked it.

    I think they’re blaming Trayvon because they somehow recognize they are responsible too (because of their language, racism, and rhetoric) and don’t want to face the ugliness that the rest of us have long been sick of. They’re trying to absolve Zimmerman because they see themselves in him.

    (I’m generally opposed to the death penalty because too many innocent people have been put to death and even more have been wrongly condemned. In this case, Zimmerman should be fried. Period. There is no doubt it was hate-driven murder and he is the guilty one.)

  10. Even before I read the article, when I read the title of this story, I immediately thought of something else.
    It’s along the same lines as “women who wear provocative clothing, are asking to be raped”.
    It’s worked in court for years. I fear this way of thinking will give the guilty an acquittal.

  11. They retired Old Sparky some nine or ten years back, Walkaway. It attracted too many murderers who wanted to go out in a blaze of glory to the state. Now he’d just get dull Old Gurney, like everyplace else.

    On top of Old Sparky, all covered with smoke
    I saw my true lover sit down for to croak.
    They turned on the current, and to their surprise
    Two bolts of lightning shot out of his eyes.

    (Burma Shave)

  12. GROAN! I almost woke my other half, laughing that hard! She’s got an early day tomorrow so I’ve got to TRY to keep a lid on it (difficult right at the moment).

    Yeah, I remember now.

  13. should we expect anything less from these people. These are the same people that blame girls for getting raped because of the way they dress.

  14. With Gerald Rivera’s tone-deaf and dumbly insensitive remark to the effect that this kid’s wearing a hoodie contributed to his murder, I have lost any respect I’ve ever had for Rivera. His remarks have even prompted his own son to say he’s ashamed of him. But it’s part of the pathetic and transparent attempts of some conservative bloggers and outright racists to defend Zimmerman and demonize Trayvon. People have even twisted facts around to make it seem like Trayvon, an A and B student with no police record, was the hoodlum, while making Zimmerman to be the victim. Zimmerman has a record that includes domestic violence, battery of a police officer, and resisting arrest. So, it’s no question in my mind who the aggressor was. It must be nice living in the Bizarroland along with Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, and their lemmings.

  15. Rivera is a has been and someone should have brought up the original US ‘hoodie’ –the WHITE SHEET OF THE SOUTH!

    Shameless idiots! That includes the MSM!

  16. Hmmm… well, that’s the world I live in although I don’t belong. (Imagine how scary it is.)

    It comes as a shocking surprise to people when they learn just how mean and cruel this world really is, and that the “good” people are usually the bad ones and the “bad” people (such as some of the people found here) are really the ones who care and deserve the descriptor “good”. I think most Americans (exception, the very poor and many minority folks) actually have lived rather protected lives and don’t know what goes on around them. That world is the reality, at least in large portions of the country. If you’re liberal or more than a little educated, it’s not a comfortable place to be.

    In that light…
    I fully expect to hear some “Good Christian” saying that Trayvon was an armed known criminal going to invade someone’s house and Zimmerman was the “poor, persecuted Good Citizen who tried to stop him and is being persecuted by the ‘reverse racists'” (there is no such thing!). Of course, they’ll also say that the “librul media is keeping the truth from THE PEOPLE” and denounce anyone familiar with the situation as a socialist or communist – their usual attack on the truth.

    Then our great Florida Legislature, led by the ‘wise and honest’ Rick Scott, will come up with more ways to try to keep people “in their place”. Probably they’ll find a new fee or fine… for poor people (or people they think don’t deserve a decent life in general) who try to go into “good people’ neighborhoods.

    I imagine that there are a lot of people fuming now that they’ve heard that some African American had the gall to buy a nice house in a nice neighborhood!
    Forget being able to buy a home in a decent area if you aren’t lilly-white and evangelical conservative “Christian”.

  17. i havent watched riveria on tv since that capone safe debacle years ago but its nice to know hes sold his soul to foxnews.i truly wonder if these idiots on fox really belive the nonsense they riveria saying that hoodies are the problem has lost his mind considering that hes puertorican like myself makes the comment not just stupid but incomptent.growing up a minority is tuff 40year old puertorican and im carmel colored soul who recently was followed around walmart i guess cuz they thought i was a shoplifter pushin my one yr old son in his stroller.i wasnt dressed like a hoodlum so i know its my race.theyre sooo many incidents like that have happeneed to me that im not surprised when they happen anymore.theres still alot of cowards like riveria who will always blame the victim not racism.i hope you get a big check from fox G.R. what sad loser

  18. Geraldo Rivera saying stupid things on the air is nothing to worry about. Geraldo has always been the master of innuendo and sucking up to prejudice. One more stupidly reprehensible statement from him does not mean anything.

    Going beyond Geraldo, it is appalling that a so-called news network, especially one claiming to be fair and balanced could take a position so reeking of anti-kid sentiment as the one Geraldo expresses here.

    Wearing a hoodie is like wearing a backward baseball cap was a few years ago. If people are actually threatened by kids in hoodies with the hood up, it says much more about their internal lack of balance than it does about the kids.

    A 15 year old blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy sits in the pew in front of me in church every week. He and his parents and his grandmother, who all attend church together went through a struggle all winter convincing him not to put the hood up during the service.

    He is not a bad kid: he has good grades, he works for older people in the neighborhood helping them with lawn maintenance, snow removal and small repairs, he participates in extra-curricular activities and has nice friends.

    How is it possible that anyone could make the case that if this wholesome, church-going boy wore his hoodie, hood up, on his way home from a job helping an elderly neighbor, he could be mistaken for a thug or a criminal?

  19. One would hope that Mr. Zimmerman will soon be brought to trial for his assault on Trayvon Martin.

    One would hope that the 911 dispatch message advising Mr. Zimmerman to stay in his car and not to follow Trayvon Martin will be entered as evidence and given due weight.

    One would hope that the Florida jury will recognize that Mr. Zimmerman went far beyond “standing his ground,” and was in fact, the agressor in this incident.

    One would hope that the Florida court will then set a legal precedent defining “standing one’s ground,” as a defensive and not an agressive posture and that future atrocious assaults like Mr. Zimmerman’s will be dealt with with the severity that they warrant.

  20. There is no reason to compare Trayvon Martin the honor student to Mr. Zimmerman the wife beater.

    The facts of this case are crystal clear. The P-O-L-I-C-E dispatcher was in contact with Mr. Zimmerman and told him his actions had crossed the line between lawful and unlawful behavior.

    There is no way that the Florida stand your ground law can be interpreted to justify what Mr. Zimmerman did to Trayvon Martin.

    This is a murder case pure and simple.

  21. Kids don’t wear hoodies to keep their ears warm anymore than millenials wear their hats backward to keep the sun off their necks.

    Hoodies are a fashion statement and are a statement associated with a James Dean sort of anomie and rebelliousness.

    There are definitely times and places when kids covering their heads with hoodies is disrespectful and inappropriate.

    Walking home in public streest is not, repeat not, one of those times or places. Just as men in suits, women in high heels have the right to move around in public unmolested so do kids in hoodies.

    It is clear from the police dispatch recording that Mr. Zimmerman exceeded any reasonable definition of standing his ground in the incident involving Trayvon Martin.

    People like Geraldo Rivera should concentrate on defining the limits of stand your ground statutes for their audience. That is information we need.

    Geraldo’s reporting on this matter is just garbage.

  22. “One would hope that the Florida court will then set a legal precedent defining “standing one’s ground,” as a defensive and not an agressive posture and that future atrocious assaults like Mr. Zimmerman’s will be dealt with with the severity that they warrant.”

    That’s it exactly. Stand your ground is purely defensive. It’s a protection for defensive actions and not for offensive.

    I admit that it still has the ability to be abused (if there wasn’t documentation and recordings, Zimmerman would have an easier time of it), but its primary purpose is to protect those who have to defend themselves or others.

    Even then, in a case like this, the argument against it is that Zimmerman wasn’t on his property and there was no evidence that Trayvon was seeking trouble, or a threat to Zimmerman or anyone else for that matter. The evidence is pretty clear that he wasn’t stealing, or anything else remotely suspicious. Shoot, if he hadn’t been carrying the items from the store, he might have just been out jogging or enjoying the air!

    Zimmerman was clearly one of those cop-wannabes… and there are too many of them as it is.

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