For a fleeting moment on Monday, Fox News viewers witnessed a lengthy, if not forceful, rebuke of the treatment of the caravan of Central American migrants attempting to enter the United States from one of the network’s top personalities.
That criticism came from Geraldo Rivera, who, to the apparent surprise of fellow Fox News commentator Jesse Watters, derisively referred to himself as the “designated pinata” of the network. “That’s racist!” Watters sarcastically shot back. Ignoring his colleague, Rivera then delivered an emotional plea blasting the use of tear gas on migrants and the depiction of asylum-seekers as militarized “invaders.”
“I am ashamed. This tear gas choked me,” Rivera said. “We treat these people, these economic refugees as if they’re zombies from the ‘The Walking Dead.'”
“We have to deal with this problem humanely and with compassion,” he continued. “These are not invaders. Stop using these military analogies. This is absolutely painful to watch. We are a nation of immigrants. These are desperate people, they walk 2,000 miles, why? Because they want to rape your daughter and steal your lunch? No!”
The comment appeared to take aim at conservative narratives, amplified by President Donald Trump, that have portrayed migrants as “rapists” and criminals.
It’s about time one of the Fox News mouth pieces became so rattled that they broke the narrative on air. Never would have guessed it would be Geraldo. pic.twitter.com/0yicl0sJmZ
— Timothy Michael Jennings (@TheTimJennings) November 27, 2018
But Rivera’s rogue remarks, which came just hours after Fox News featured a guest that suggested the contents of tear-gas were so harmless they could be used to flavor “nachos,” are unlikely to change the network’s immigration coverage, which regularly features fear-mongering headlines and commentary that seeks to paint asylum-seekers as disease-carriers and criminals attempting to flood the country.
Impossible to overstate how much Fox & Friends wants its audience (which includes President Trump) to be panicked about the situation at the border this morning. pic.twitter.com/Y50ZXwg6cO
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) November 26, 2018