During a panel discussion on race relations on Sean Hannity's Fox News Channel program on Wednesday evening, senior correspondent Geraldo Rivera grumbled that he saw basketball player LeBron James wearing a T-shirt that displayed the words “I Can't Breathe.”
That phrase, Rivera said, obviously referred to Eric Garner, the Staten Island man “who was choked to death in that horrifying video that we all saw.”
“I wondered to myself, what if LeBron James instead had a shirt” that said ‘Be a Better Father to Your Son’ or ‘Raise Your Children'? Rivera asked about the professional athlete who plays with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Those difficult issues are not being dealt with by the black community because they are so complex, they are so deep-rooted, they are really so profoundly troubling that they don’t want to try,” he continued.
The Fox News correspondent then claimed:
And it is a victimization mentality that says we can only motivate when we are the victims. It goes in keeping with everything that’s happened to the black community and the generations preceding.
It’s easy to demonstrate and be outraged when we are the victims. ‘Look what we are doing to us rather than what we are doing to ourselves.’ There’s a kind of urban suicide happening here that has to be dealt with.
Rivera's comments followed the Hannity host's statement that “the number of blacks killed by law enforcement with a firearm” during the most recent year for which statistics are available -- 2012 -- was only 123, which nevertheless “gets the attention.”
Of course, it came as no surprise that Rivera's remarks “got attention” of their own from people posting on the Twitter social website.
One of the people who chimed in on the subject was emilymbadger, who declared: “If you want to be riled up this a.m., here's Geraldo Rivera explaining black America's problems.”
“I don't care” what he meant, @djstephfloss grumbled before asserting that the Fox News correspondent is “lame.”
Referring to an embarrassing moment in Rivera's career, @DocZeus charged: “Somebody needs to lock Geraldo Rivera in Al Capone's tomb for good.”
@THEAlleyeceeing also had a harsh view of the correspondent's viewpoint: “Like Geraldo Rivera feels it is his duty to choose what is important to black community, and don't [sic] see the irony in that.”
That poster also asked why the correspondent is “trying to get 'urban suicide' to become a wave” and declared: “Stop it!”
As NewsBusters previously reported, this isn't the first time Rivera made fiery comments about a person's clothing.
Back on March 23, 2012, the commentator tweeted: “His hoodie killed Trayvon Martin as surely as George Zimmerman,” the Hispanic man who shot the black teenager.
Rivera also noted: ”You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta -- you’re going to be a gangsta wannabe, well, people are going to perceive you as a menace. That’s what happens.”
During an appearance on a Fox & Friends morning program four months later, he claimed that new evidence in the case vindicated his argument, which was roundly condemned as inappropriate in many media circles.
He also asserted:
I hate to brag, but I got criticized by every pundit in America when I said that Trayvon Martin would be alive today but for the fact that he was wearing thug wear. He was wearing the hoodie.
Turns out now that we look at George Zimmerman’s interviews with the police. He didn’t profile Trayvon Martin because he was black, he profiled him because he was wearing a hoodie.
The Fox News correspondent now serves as the host of Geraldo Rivera Reports, where he maintains his curiosity about unusual subjects. His most recent edition was entitled “Elvis at 80,” in which he stated that the industry surrounding music superstar Elvis Presley is still “thriving 37 years after his death.”