Geraldo Rivera has been in the media game for 50 years, and 19 of them have been spent at Fox News, where he considers himself an “oddball out” at times, though he’s never been censored, he says.
“I’m in the middle of the road. I try to see both sides,” he told TheWrap ahead of the Sunday Fox News special reviewing highlights from his half-century career. “I try to bring my experience to bear and sometimes at Fox, I’m the oddball out. You didn’t hear my voice much during the political conventions — they tend to keep me out of politics — but my opinion is really expressed. No one tries to censor me.”
His opinion, he pointed out, is often at odds with the opinions of others on the network. He cited disagreements and on-air spats with Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Greg Gutfeld — but noted he’s made incredible friends and feels respected, not ostracized, at the network. He joined Fox News in 2001 with the goal of becoming a war correspondent in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“I wanted to change the world using law,” he said of his early career. Before he was a talkshow host or war correspondent, he was a lawyer in New York’s Lower East Side. “Then, I kind of wanted to do the same thing using as the television news platform to do it. There are a couple of truths that are enduring: Racism is real. Black men experience a whole different challenge than white man and dealing with cops. There is a terrible racial divide in this country.”
His frustration is with the media at large, he said, which he feels doesn’t cover other important issues, like civilian-on-civilian crime in inner cities. At Fox News, Rivera feels empowered to discuss all the issues that matter to him, whether opinion hosts on other networks or his own will disagree with him.
After 50 years, not all of his assessments of media are focused on what the industry does wrong, though.
“When we landed in Afghanistan to go through the Khyber Pass and into combat, we had two tons of equipment — literally, two tons,” he said, adding that “Nowadays, when we go out, you can have two iPhones to do the same job to tons of equipment did 20 years ago. It’s extraordinary.”
Cell phones are useful for nontraditional journalism, too, he said: “The technology and social media have changed the world. I mean, many, many stories you see these days would be non-stories until iPhones happened. You know the portability and omnipotence of it, the ability that every single person with a phone can now be a reporter and report from a remote location.”
Stories like the police shootings of George Floyd and Jacob Blake, both caught on cell phone video, illustrate his point. He’s held forth on both on Fox News in recent weeks, maintaining his position regarding the difficulties facing Black people in their interactions with police.
The final installment of “I Am Geraldo: 50 Years” hits Fox Nation, Fox News’ subscription streaming platform, on Sunday. At 10 p.m. ET, Fox News will air a condensed, hour-long version of the special, with a unique introduction from President Donald Trump.