Geraldo Rivera's Mission Accomplished
Reported by Ellen - January 30, 2005
FOX reporter Geraldo Rivera has been so elated over the Iraqi elections that I half-expected him to strut around in a fly-boy suit as he exulted about democracy aborning one more time today while in a locked-down Baghdad under Martial law. Of course it's wonderful that there was no bloodbath during the elections. No decent person wouldn't be glad that the turnout was better than expected. But one election doesn't make a democracy any more than the US toppling of Saddam ended a war. It could be "mission accomplished" all over again. But besides the possible prematurity of Rivera's jubilation, there was something more than a little supercilious in his attitude toward the Iraqi people.
As I reported in a recent post, Geraldo Rivera wondered a few days ago whether the "Iraqis now have the backbone to stand up and fight for their own country." Sounding more than a bit peeved with the Iraqis, Rivera said, "We want THEM (his emphasis) to die for their country, not our young guys to die for their country."
Today, however, he sounded like a proud father when he told Shepard Smith, during a special edition of Studio B, "I felt this sense of exuberance... It was like a floodgate of joy opened up. I tell you, I was so proud of the Iraqi voters, so proud of our GI's." Comment: Isn't it a bit condescending of him to be "proud" of the Iraqi voters? What gives him that sense of paternity? The fact that we invaded their country?
Also like a proud father, Rivera largely overlooked the areas where his progeny fell short - the Sunni vote. He briefly mentioned that "In some cities, like Sumara... the climate of fear... did keep the turnout down below 20% but in mixed communities like the one I saw today, clearly the Sunnis did turn out..." There was no mention of the situation reported on by The Washington Post:
Despite rumors that food rations would be taken away if residents failed to vote, few defied threats by insurgents to, in the words of one leaflet, "wash the streets" with the blood of voters. In Ramadi, a western city along the Euphrates River, six people voted in a city of roughly 200,000: the provincial governor, three of his deputies, the representative of the Communist Party and the police chief, residents said. In Dhuluyah, a town north along the Tigris, the eight polling stations never opened, residents said, and in other towns in the region, voters usually numbered in the dozens, ignoring appeals broadcast by patrolling U.S. soldiers to vote.
Instead, Rivera preferred to show the grizzly footage of a dead woman in the bed of a pickup truck "torn to bits" from a mortar attack. "This makes any civilized person absolutely sick!" Rivera said self-righteously. "What is the point of this insurgency?" Rivera asked high-handedly while I wondered what was the point of showing the viewers this corpse. Fair and Balanced FOX News never shows the corpses of innocent civilians killed by the US, despite the fact that there may have been more than 100,000 such unfortunates. Nor do we ever see the caskets of fallen US servicemen which are now more than 1400.
After his emotional speech over the dead Iraqi woman, Rivera told Smith that there was a plus side to the suicide bombers. "One of the best things that happened - you think about 9 suicide bombers - what could possibly be good about 9 suicide bombers? I'll tell you what could be good about it. There are 9 terrorists who are dead (along with how many innocents?) because there's no second run for the suicide bombers." Comforting words for the families of those killed, I'm sure.
"Papa" Geraldo waxed eloquent about the Iraqis as he called them a "simple people, nice people, humble people." But, in a brazen instance of "Do as I say, not as I do," Rivera told the Iraqis, "The Sunnis must feel that they are enfranchised, they must feel that they have a voice. They're not top dog anymroe, They're only 20-25% of the population but they have to feel honored, that they have rights, that they have the same kind of access to public services as all the other Iraqis. Now they're not the master anymoe but they do deserve their share of democracy."
Never mind about the voting, I guess. Like the disenfranchised voters in the US, they'll just have to learn to get over it.