Geraldo Rivera on Friday accused MSNBC anchors of not caring at all about the evidence concerning the shooting of Trayvon Martin and instead "cheerleading for the conviction of George Zimmerman."
Appearing on Fox New's The O'Reilly Factor, Rivera specifically pointed his finger at Martin Bashir, Chris Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell, Al Sharpton, and Ed Schultz (video follows with transcript and commentary:
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Continuing now with our lead story, ABC News and NBC News covering the Trayvon Martin case in opposite ways. Here now Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera. And you say?
GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I, first of all, want to point out that I spent many years in both news organizations -- 15 at ABC, eight at NBC. I think they are honorable people.
But NBC has changed since I was there. It was the creation of MSNBC or rather the decision by MSNBC to choose ideological sides in life generally and most specifically in this criminal action. I believe that they made an ideological decision that they would be on the side of the victim in this case and that they would argue strenuously for the prosecution of George Zimmerman and the ultimate conviction of George Zimmerman. But when you point to Martin Bashir, Chris Matthews, Larry O'Donnell, Al Sharpton my goodness --
O'REILLY: We didn't even use him. We didn't even use the reverend. Right.
RIVERA: -- or Ed Schultz -- Mr. Ed. You have people who have a very firm conviction that it's not so much about the evidence as it is about the fact that a young, unarmed, black, teenager was shot dead doing something innocent.
O'REILLY: And none of those people were there and they don't know what happened.
But here is what is happening in the country. So you have this big fissure between ABC News which is doing hard news reporting and they come up with this startling shot of Zimmerman's head covered with blood, ok? So that's on Channel 7.
And then you turn to Channel 4 and instead of hard news analysis, you have, as you put it, an ideological take on a life or death story that's going to be decided by a jury. Now, in your opinion, does this taint the entire NBC News operation?
RIVERA: Well, that's an excellent question. I think taint might be a strong word.
Let me just say that NBC also has people like Pete Williams who are lawyers and excellent analysts and ABC has Dan Abrams a wonderful analyst also. I believe they are now invested, Bill, in a way that is more political than it is legal analysis.
O'REILLY: So the whole organization, NBC.
RIVERA: Well, when you have Reverend Sharpton, let's say -- and I really hold him in high regard and I understand many, many people do not. They think that he is a charlatan. I think he really is a fine civil rights leader who has changed his life in the last 20 years.
And he is one of the moving forces to get the prosecution and the arrest --
O'REILLY: But he's in a bad -- he has been -- this has not been a good moment for him.
RIVERA: But now, jump-cut. Here you have Al Sharpton as the face of the person pushing the arrest of George Zimmerman. He also anchors his own shown on MSNBC. How could it not affect that network's coverage? I believe that they are cheerleading for the conviction of George Zimmerman. I have no doubt about it.
Later in the discussion, Rivera said, "We're coming on the 20th anniversary of the Rodney King decision in which an all-white jury in Simi Valley in Los Angeles acquitted the cops who were seen clearly beating up Rodney King...The verdict in that case acquitting the cops set off a firestorm of controversy and rioting...There is a situation here where George Zimmerman is going to be acquitted and people are going to be disappointed because of advocates like MSNBC."
I couldn't agree more.
The only question is whether the folks at MSNBC will be held accountable if their irresponsible behavior leads to the loss of property and God forbid the loss of life.