Geraldo Rivera – sitting in the liberal chair, no less – played Hurricane Maria death toll truther without a lot of thought for the truth, but with a lot of help for Donald Trump’s narcissistic, lying attack on the death toll in Puerto Rico.
On The Five yesterday, the cohosts spent more than five minutes whining about a misleading New York Times story about Nikki Haley’s curtains, which the paper corrected, – and acting as though Fox News has never promoted falsehoods. Cohost Greg Gutfeld self-righteously called for a book (cohost Dana Perino said it should be a set) of false media stories. Presumably, they planned to leave all of Fox’s phony stories out.
As the segment wound down, Rivera suddenly switched the subject to Puerto Rico with a comment he clearly had planned in advance. "Don’t get me started on Puerto Rico,” he said, even though the subject had not come up. Then he launched his diatribe.
RIVERA: … And how all these people that died in the storm in Puerto Rico that I covered for over two weeks. That I, you know – property owner in Puerto Rico, my father one of 17 children – like they say all these people died in the storm, 70% of the power was out before the storm. So when did the people start dying? When was it on, you know, Hurricane Maria … Was it when the power went out? I was there one time and it was a transformer fire and the power went out and they started dying then? I mean, at what point do you recognize that what they’re doing is a political agenda couched in the nice language of journalism?
Apparently, we’re supposed to take Rivera at his word because he has both family roots and property there and he was there “one time” when the power went out because of a transformer fire. Meanwhile, not one of these five supposed truth tellers could be bothered to point out the facts of the study, which was conducted by George Washington University, that Trump didn’t want to acknowledge.
The investigation, based on actual death certificates, compared the number of deaths with typical death rates, adjusting for many variables, including the mass exodus from the island in the aftermath of the storm.
GWU said it counted deaths until February because people continued to die at anomalous rates long after the storm, as the island struggled with infrastructure failures and political infighting. GWU said that the poorer and older the resident, the higher the risk of death, especially among men older than 65. So the number might include an elderly person who died earlier than expected because there was a lack of electricity at home or health-care facilities.
The study, in other words, purposely tried to avoid simply counting elderly people who “died for any reason,” as Trump claimed. GWU researchers said otherwise the count would be 16,608 between Sept. 1 and the end of February.
In addition to the careful methodology that Rivera conveniently ignored, he also falsely claimed that the study said “all these people died in the storm,” which it clearly did not.
And yet Rivera and his four colleagues had the nerve to attack other media outlets for making mistakes.
So you tell me, Geraldo, at what point do you recognize that what you and your Fox News pals are doing is a political agenda couched in the nice language of journalism?
Watch Rivera propagandize below, from the September 14, 2018 The Five.
I also agree with Eyes about the nonsense curtains issue, as well as the ridiculous suites these guys stay in – those should be scrapped and we should put our resources to much better use. If there is an issue about the UN Ambassador needing a place to host international representatives, that’s great – we happen to have wonderful State Department offices with conference rooms where people can be met. Interesting that the only outrage Fox News has is that this was happening under President Obama – not a word about whether it’s okay to keep it going. And why didn’t Haley scrap the idea herself? When Jerry Brown became Governor of California (both times), he immediately eschewed all the big money trappings and did things like flying coach. All Haley had to do was announce, publicly, that she was downsizing that kind of stuff, and she would have had political talking points for the rest of her career. Interesting that she chose to try to keep it under her hat.
As for the deaths from Hurricane Maria, Trump and his acolytes can’t handle the truth. The issue isn’t how many people exactly died at the exact moment the Hurricane was sitting over Puerto Rico. Because the death toll also includes all the people who need help for months and months afterwards, who didn’t get it because the Pence White House didn’t care if they died. When the storms hit Texas, Trump was all over that issue, and people like Ted Cruz were talking about how the effects of the storms would be ongoing for years afterward, as a way of getting more attention and trying to get some kind of false moral high ground for himself. The issue isn’t about the number of people who died, although it’s part of the problem. The issue is the reason that the number was so high – which is that the Pence White House couldn’t care less if thousands of Puerto Ricans were and are without power and water. Trump never liked Puerto Ricans in the first place – to him, the photo-op of tossing a couple of paper towel rolls was a major give. He would have preferred to have nothing to do with Puerto Ricans. And the larger point is that this is even worse than Katrina. At least with Katrina, there was a real FEMA response, albeit inept, and there was a real follow-up. With Maria, the Pence White House did the minimum and essentially walked away, choosing to blame the Puerto Ricans for their own deaths.
If anything, the Right Wing’s bizarre response here just points up their own moral inadequacies. This is yet another example of why Right Wingers will not be able to walk back their statements and behavior in the coming years. They’ve gone on the record and unveiled their inner hatreds for all to see. The silver lining here is that now we know a lot more about who and what these people are. So when this epoch is finished, they don’t get to just pass it off as “I didn’t really mean that”.
In that light, it’s no surprise the shyster behind Capone’s vault would shill a false narrative about hurricane Maria.
Regarding the curtains. I don’t care who ordered them. $53,000 for curtains (and motors to power them) is a waste of taxpayer’s money. Speaking of taxpayers. Many don’t earn more than that in a year. Also, putting her up in a $58,000/month penthouse apartment is disgusting. I don’t know when all of this began but now that it’s been exposed it needs to stop. Funny the tight-fisted conservatives at Fox News who constantly whine over taxpayers’ money being wasted don’t care when Trump is president.