Geraldo Rivera was never a good fit for “The Five.”
For most Fox News viewers, that was evident with every minute he spent on the set of one of the network’s most popular shows — getting regularly destroyed in battles of wits with his better-armed, conservative co-hosts.
And now, weeks after he was fired from “The Five” and quit the network in response, he’s admitting the truth.
“They made a very pragmatic decision, a business decision,” Rivera told Mediaite, a liberal news website that focuses on coverage of the media itself.
“And it looks in retrospect that they made the right decision.”
It would be hard to find a regular Fox News viewer who would disagree.
It isn’t as though “The Five” can’t accommodate a liberal viewpoint. The late, curmudgeonly Bob Beckel managed to fill that role for years without regularly embarrassing himself and the network with indefensible arguments. Even if his views weren’t popular, Beckel was an accepted part of the show.
(Beckel, unfortunately, had worse problems than a liberal opinion.)
But Rivera’s grating pomposity and condescending self-righteousness were never a match for the more quick-witted, better-prepared conservatives he tried to contend with.
“The Five” co-host and Fox’s late-night comedian Greg Gutfeld was a frequent Geraldo antagonist — with Gutfeld basically lighting up the scoreboard like the Harlem Globetrotters to Rivera’s hapless Washington Generals.
The fact that Gutfeld was cited specifically as one of the reasons for Rivera’s departure would come as no surprise to anyone with even a passing familiarity with either Gutfeld, Rivera or the show itself.
But even though Gutfeld might have been the most outspoken of Rivera’s ideological opponents, he wasn’t exactly alone.
Basically, any viewer of “The Five” had a reason to wince a little whenever it came time for Rivera to offer his two cents on any given subject.
His take on electric vehicles was priceless, if only because it showed how out of touch with normal Americans he actually is.
His attack on Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett after the Dobbs decision striking down Roe v. Wade last year was not only mean-spirited, it was without foundation.
His knee-jerk, utterly predictable liberal condemnation of Canada’s “Freedom Convoy” truckers during the COVID-19 pandemic was no doubt intended to be iconoclastic in the setting of a Fox News show. It was exactly the opposite — it was Geraldo the Establishment attempting to lecture the lowly.
Except his co-hosts didn’t let him get away with it, and the Fox News executives know where their audience’s hearts really are.
“Was I satisfied with how Fox handled the tensions? No,” Rivera told Mediaite.
“The other cast members were perceived to be far more significant to the overall thrust of the program than I was. And so I became a kind of collateral damage. If you look at how well that program has done since I’ve left, if anything, [ratings are] back up. So I can’t say that they’ve made the wrong decision.”
Yeah, well, the other cast members on “The Five” — such as Gutfeld, former Bush White House press secretary Dana Perino and blossoming Fox star Jesse Watters are, in fact, far more significant than Rivera filling the role of a reflexive liberal mouthing empty opinions that could have been picked out of a random trash can at NPR.
But when it came to his views of his role at Fox in general and “The Five” in particular, Rivera was — like a stopped clock — right for a change.
“I should have left a long time ago,” Rivera told Mediaite. “But for various reasons, not the least of which was my own insecurity about where I would end up, I stuck around and I stayed too long at the dance.”
He stayed too long, and he was out of step just about all the time.
And he’s figured it out way after everyone else.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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