Hands off NBC News Anchor Brian Williams! That was the message from Geraldo Rivera to twitter users during his Friday visit to Fox and Friends: “I think that all these people with twitter accounts who are attacking this person from the safety of their mother’s basement should shut up and let the soldiers and the G.I.s deal with this”
The Fox News reporter, who was hired as a war reporter, believes the criticism of the NBC anchor should be left in the hands of war correspondents like him and soldiers.
Fox and Friends co-host Steve Doocy broached the topic:
Doocy: The cover of the New York Post today. That’s Brian Williams, who heads up the NBC Nightly News. The headline is, “A nose for news.” And there is the Pinocchio thing going there. There is a report in the New York Post, Geraldo, that says that Brokaw wants him fired, that he should go because he made up a story and kept telling it even though NBC senior officials said, “Brian, stop telling that story. We know it’s made up.”
Rivera: I want to know more about the second part of what you said before I really voice an opinion. Where were his producers over the years? Didn’t they tell him that’s not the way it happened? If the story–
Doocy: Apparently they did.
Rivera: Well, if he defied his own colleagues to tell a story that he didn’t misremember but intentionally conjured up, that’s a far more grievous offense than if he just conflates, you know, a lot of people conflate. It’s sad, you get busted for it, you apologize for it—
Doocy: You’ve been in combat. You’ve had many opportunities to make a story really good and add stuff to it.
Rivera: But I don’t — what I don’t want, Steve, is people to pile on and destroy a man’s entire career for this one incident. Let’s go slow. In March of 2003, I was with the 101st Airborne. I was in those dust storms. I drew a line in the sand that I barely survived and had to apologize for a million times, even though it was an inconsequential —
Doocy: With your foot.
Rivera: Harmless error, people watched. The one thing I don’t like, and I’ll say this right now — why is it that the loudest voices condemning Brian Williams never served in combat, were never combat reporters? I think that all these people with Twitter accounts who are attacking this person from the safety of their mother’s basement should shut up and let the soldiers and the G.I.s deal with this. Brian Williams, whatever happened, they’ll sort it out. People don’t want to watch him, they can change the channel.
The March 2003 “harmless error” Geraldo was talking about was the time he was embedded with the 101st Airborne and during a live broadcast told a cameraman to aim his lens at the ground. Rivera preceded to draw a rough map of Iraq in the sand, where his unit was in relation to Baghdad, and drew the general direction of where his unit was going next. The military wanted Rivera out of Iraq immediately but they compromised and allowed Geraldo to voluntarily leave Iraq and report the rest of the war from Kuwait.
Criticizing Twitter users is out of character for the Fox News host as he is an avid Twitter user himself. Some might even remember the tweet below from July 2013, when the then 70-year-old sent a tweet that made huge news: