Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Geraldo opens one too many doors

Geraldo Rivera has been a media fixture for years. Who could forget his investigative reporting on 20/20? Who could forget 'The Secret of Al Capone's closet' ("Look! There's another door!")? Who could his wartime reporting from the Gulf War in 1991? Who could forgive the air-kisses he gave President Clinton? Fortunately, for him (IMHO) he was once again earning some respect while being embedded; that respect waned in Afghanistan, when he purportedly 'stood' on the site of a battle, when in reality was hundreds of miles away.

When I first heard the accusation, I told a co-worker: "He is so arrogant he was probably warned 3 times prior and now they're canning him; good riddance." His bravado was part of his shtick, but it appears it has done him in. Assuming for a moment the military has expelled him -- and I say 'assuming', for if he was actually expelled, there's no reason why he is *still* in country -- FNC had better get him over the border and fast; the repercussions for access of the other Fox correspondence is in dreadful peril otherwise.

There will be 'other doors' Geraldo will ultimately open, but at the very least for the credibility of FNC, and for the most -- respect for those who serve and their families back home -- he needs to be reassigned. Now.

Geraldo Denies Being Kicked Out of Iraq
IN SOUTHERN IRAQ - Geraldo Rivera is denying reports that he's been kicked out of Iraq (news - web sites) by U.S. military officials for giving out too much information about troop locations.

Meanwhile NBC fired journalist Peter Arnett on Monday, saying it was wrong for him to give an interview with state-run Iraqi TV in which he said the American-led coalition's initial plan for the war had failed because of Iraq's resistance.

Reporting on the Fox News Channel, Rivera said he's actually further inside Iraq than he'd been before.

He was standing alongside U.S. troops in a building he identified as Iraq's ruling party headquarters in a city south of Baghdad.

Rivera said it sounds like the rumors that he'd been kicked out were spread by people he described as "rats" at NBC, where he used to work.

He said his rivals "can't compete fair and square on the battlefield" — so they try to stab him in the back.

But in the end, he insists, "quality journalism wins out."

Rivera said he has a "great relationship" with the troops in the 101st Airborne — and that he plans to "march into Baghdad alongside them."

Sources at U.S. Central Command have said that Rivera was asked to leave because he revealed tactical information.

Arnett, on NBC's "Today" show on Monday, said he was sorry for his statement but added "I said over the weekend what we all know about the war."

"I want to apologize to the American people for clearly making a misjudgment," the New Zealand-born Arnett said. He said he would try to leave Baghdad now, joking "there's a small island in the South Pacific that I've inhabited that I'll try to swim to."

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