In a revealing, wide-ranging interview with HuffPost Live, Geraldo Rivera talks about everything from The Apprentice to his multifaceted career in broadcasting. And along the way he drops some smart observations about how The Cable Game is played.
What makes Fox News so successful?
Roger was and is renowned for his ruthless political acumen. But look at me: a dope-smoking puerto Rican Jew from the lower East Side who’s as liberal as you are, and I’m one of his best friends. What’s different–and people don’t get it–the big networks have been run by guys from the Upper West Side, the vast majority of them were Jewish as I am, but they came from the same kind of educational background, educational predispositions…
Fox News is basically the first media company–they’re all Irish Catholic at the top… One of the things that I’ve learned is that they’re not stupider than you are. Conservatives aren’t dumber than liberals. Liberals just have a different view than conservatives. And I think conservatives are more open-minded in many ways than liberals are. At least they listen to what the other side has to say… I’ve written two books pro-immigration reform, the thing that raises the hackles on so many conservatives, and Hannity lets me on his show at least once a week. So does O’Reilly. Stereotypes are fine when they’re fact-based, but you’ve got to see all sides.
What about Gabriel Sherman’s book, where he claims Roger Ailes had a fit because he feared Rupert Murdoch was going to endorse Barack Obama?
I don’t believe that anecdote is true…I didn’t see a crack of light between Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch in terms of their response to the ’08 election. Gabe Sherman was out to do a hatchet job; I think that was his commitment from the get-go.
And Geraldo, who used to work for NBC, has some comments about their “cable news” branch, MSNBC:
I think MSNBC is so boring. Like the Ferguson thing. When the anchor starts saying “hands up don’t shoot”–that’s the anchor saying that. That’s not a news report. That’s a political statement. That’s like someone on the right holding up pictures of aborted fetuses. I like Al Sharpton. I’ve been his biggest fan. He’s the most respected figure in the African-American community today. But when Al Sharpton has the show, and Al Sharpton is the advocate for a political point of view, and that’s reflected through the whole network…
There’s a lot more, so head on over to HuffPost and get more of Rivera’s inside look at The Cable Game.