As ThinkProgress noted, Fox News ignored the controversy over the killing of Trayvon Martin at first, even after every other network was covering it, but maybe they were better off not covering the issue than what they’re doing now.
This morning on Fox and Frends, Fox contributor Geraldo Rivera remarked, “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman (his killer).” While he agreed that Zimmerman “should be prosecuted,” Rivera also blamed Trayvon’s parents for letting him go outside wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Media Matters flagged the exchange:
BRIAN KILMEADE KILMEADE (co-host): Let’s talk about the Trayvon Martin case and what’s going on in Florida right now.
GERALDO RIVERA: 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. [...] 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.
Rivera’s comments suggesting that Martin’s attire was responsible for his death are offensive and repugnant. One of the reasons Martin may have been wearing a hood is that it was raining on the day he was shot. As Rivera himself has experienced, a hood can be helpful in a rainstorm (photo credit: Flickr user Extreme WX Photographer).
Activists have organized around Martin’s hoodie, holding a “Million hoodie march” in New York City and other events.
On Twitter, Rivera responded, “My own son just wrote to say he’s ashamed of my position re hoodies-still I feel parents must do whatever they can to keep their kids safe.”