Why Geraldo Rivera went on Bill Maher’s show last night to further incinerate his journalistic reputation is anyone’s guess, but it seemed that the Fox News reporter is acutely aware of just how bad his credibility has gotten. Rivera was on the show for a one on one interview with Maher, and did his best to defend his network and the president he has been shilling for. And it did not go well for the mustachioed pal of the president.
“You were one of the original crusading reporters and you care very much about your legacy being as a journalist, so I do have to ask: Why Fox News?” said a fired up Maher, clearly relishing an opportunity to get some answers from his guest.
“That’s a fair question. I think your characterization of Fox is a stereotype,” replied Rivera. “It’s easy, because Sean Hannity, for instance, is such a big personality, to say that he represents the sum total of Fox, but I think that, with due respect, there are more voices, it’s not state-run TV, it’s conservative-leaning.”
Maher did not bite.
“But there is a big difference between MSNBC and Fox News. I mean, MSNBC sticks to the truth. They don’t make things up,” he shot back. “There’s a loop going on between Trump and Fox News, would you admit to that? What does he do all morning? He doesn’t come down to work till 11. He’s there doing his hair, watching Fox & Friends, and then he quotes from Fox & Friends—our policy seems to be coming from Fox & Friends—and then he’ll say something crazy, and then they’ll back it up.”
Rivera was not able to respond, so instead he swung back to the “both sides” argument, and claimed MSNBC was making things up about Trump’s collusion with Russia.
“I’m still stuck on your saying MSNBC is the truth,” Rivera said.
“No, I’m saying they don’t make things up,” Maher replied.
“Where’s the collusion?” asked Rivera, prompting a serious tongue lashing from Maher, who was in no mood for the Fox reporter’s nonsense.
“That’s what the investigation is about and the report isn’t in yet,” Maher said. “I’m not saying it’s definitely collusion, but you can’t say it’s an illusion until the report comes out. Would you agree to that?”
Of course Rivera did not.
“I say that anybody who views the witnesses who have been interviewed, the indictments that have come down, the scope of the investigation so far has to come to the conclusion that there’s nothing there yet,” he replied.
“Everyone in this administration has been talking to Russia,” Maher fired back.
“You would blame them if they had Russian dressing on their salad,” Rivera replied.
“See, this is what I don’t get: I remember thinking of you as a crusading reporter who was fighting against the spin. I feel like now you are the spin,” said Maher.
As the interview progressed, it became abundantly clear that Rivera had only one real line of defense for his shilling for the president. Rivera said he could “separate the man who’s always been gracious to me, always been nice to my family, we were on Celebrity Apprentice every day together for over six weeks” from the politician we see on television.
“[O.J Simpson] didn’t remain my friend when I felt he had a certain moral lapse,” fired back Maher. “Who gives a shit! He’s ruining the world now! Who gives a shit if he was nice to you at Thanksgiving, Geraldo? I’m not trying to be an asshole to you. You’re a smart guy. This befuddles me. I looked up to you.”
“You know, if you don’t look up to me because I’m still friends with the President of the United States, then shame on you,” said a flustered Rivera. “My friendship with Trump doesn’t diminish me.”
But of course, it does, and what was abundantly clear from the testy back and forth was that Rivera knows it.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.