As journalists are padlocked inside studios reporting on one story or another, often their humanity is stripped in their reporting of the news. Not always, but often. Also this is not directed towards all news broadcasters since there are still some good ones out there. What we see reporting these news stories are akin to Stepford wives or well quaffed anchors that look similar to mannequins. At times, lost within their telling of the story is the human connection.
Many of have now seen Geraldo Rivera stand toe-to-toe confronting Bill O’Reilly when it came to a drunk driver that took the life of a teenage girl. One would say that Rivera’s cranium was about to blow as well as O’Reilly’s. We expect it coming from the blow-hard O’Reilly, but when Geraldo Rivera jumped aboard Fox News, he lost part of his humanity.
In reporting of this on-air altercation of words, for the first time Countdown’s, Keith Olbermann named Geraldo Rivera, The Best Person of the day. As I viewed him bestow Rivera with this award, while amazed at that fact, I agree he was owed it.
This case that both Rivera and O’Reilly were speaking drunk driving and good ole Bill O’Reilly had to turn it into a debate on illegal immigration. It was wrong of O’Reilly to make a political statement when a girl lost her life. Then again, he has a propensity for doing just that. He is not just a Stepford wife, but a man who long ago lost his soul or sold it to the Devil. I would opine the latter.
In sticking to his guns as he confronted Bill O’Reilly, Geraldo’s emotions were visible in which he was making some connection to his soul. That is the Geraldo Rivera I once respected as he broke the Willow Brook story in which mental patients were ware housed living in their own feces. I still remember those horrid images.
As a young reporter for Eyewitness News which is a local ABC affiliate in New York City, I was stunned when he broke this case and saw the images being broadcasted. I suspect many felt the same as everyone was talking of it and trying to understand this story. That is when I think the news was the news. During those times decades ago as he broke this story, it was straight reporting in which no spin could be spun because the images would not allow for it. Sadly over time we have been conditioned to allow for the spinning of horrific events such as 9/11. No, this is not a debate on that issue, but the news period.
I think over time news broadcasts forgot that they were the witnesses for the people and became more of an entertainment broadcast. They replaced substance with spin and began to focus more on puff pieces. Call it the junk food for the mind. The news became a ratings game especially when cable news came into our lives. There one can sit on a 24/7 basis and become mesmerized and lose their humanity as well. No wonder some call it the idiot box.
Your emotions are assaulted on a constant basis as you tune into various news talk shows in which you have the host and guests alike all screaming above each other. It is no wonder why I like to read the news over hearing this assault on the senses. There I can sit quietly and read my news paper and digest the story and have a chance to at least think about it.
Instead of informing us we were given wall-to-wall coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial. During that time, I seem to remember cable news networks broadcasting that one trial for eight hours a day. In recent months we have been force fed everything from Brittany Spears to Anna Nicole Smith. The latest one that every news show is focusing in on is American Idol’s, Sanjaya Malakar. Help!
When big stories do break that take countless lives such as the Oklahoma City bombing, September 11th, Katrina or any number of natural disasters, we in our living rooms sit stunned or worse where some may not even feel at all. I think we sit stunned is because we do not know how to process what is being presented to us. It is like going cold turkey after being forced fed junk news. We somehow have to realize that there is real pain out there and even those padlocked and released briefly from the news studios are even forced to confront man’s mortality.
During Katrina, I do remember seeing the emotional side of Geraldo Rivera by viewing this feed Horror Show. At that point there is no producer force feeding him any talking points in which Fox News has been guilty of which tend to favor the Bush administration.
As the Bush administration botched their handling of this disaster, one can see Geraldo Rivera say on camera, "Let them walk out of here, let them walk the hell out of here!” as he sobbed. “Walk to some other town. Walk someplace where you can help 'em. ... These people in the same clothes, where do you think they go to the bathroom? They don't wash their hands’, they don't wash their face, these babies. What the hell?"
To bolster our disconnect from our fellow human beings as we watch various news shows as I was researching this piece, I picked this quote out of a World Net Daily piece "I turned it off. It was ridiculous," said another viewer. "The people there seemed well-mannered, particularly considering the length of their ordeal. But Geraldo seemed like he needed a slap across the chin like a frightened heroine in an old-time western. Get a grip Geraldo. If you want to play in the adult world, act like an adult."
Whoever this viewer was, were they at the Super Dome? I think the reason why Geraldo lost his grip according to this viewer is because he saw first hand man's inhumanity to man as he did when he broke the Willow Brook story decades ago. You would think after 9/11 this country would have been better prepared, but the Bush administration and the various agencies he controlled and still does let the people down.
In that same World Net Daily article this response from a Fox News viewer was revolting to say the least, "Fox News needs to pull his reports now! The man is trying to start a riot. I have never seen anything so irresponsible." To that viewer, one only has to see Bush’s irresponsibility when Katrina made it to shore. If we are to believe that those who watch Fox News support President Bush who some have called compassionate; exactly where was the compassion from this viewer? By the way as I viewed that feed, I saw no evidence of Geraldo trying to start a riot. He was pleading for help as was Shephard Smith. In fact when asked some questions by Sean Hannity, Smith reacted with “I don’t know”
When padlocked in the Fox News studios, Geraldo Rivera reverts back to a Stepford wife when he once said, “But I'm telling the American people right now that Bush is right. The commander in chief is right. Woe on to us if we think that we can forget about what's happened. That, I think, is lamentable.” He said that on June 23, 2006. Did he forget the lessons of Katrina?