The 13 Greatest Geraldo Rivera FAILs Anything
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The 13 Greatest Geraldo Rivera FAILs

These are moments when the longtime news anchor, talk show host and journalist made news rather than simply reporting it. Perhaps some of these fails come from his stint as a "medical" marijuana tester in 1974, he caught that fail on video too. From the time Geraldo made controversial comments about the Trayvon Martin killing to the time when he claimed to have secret buried treasure belonging to Al Capone to the time when he called Casey Anthony a slut, Geraldo Rivera has never been a stranger to controversy and these FAILs show only a handful of his gaffes from over four decades of being on the air.

After getting his start on local news in the 1970s, Geraldo Rivera went from an investigative journalist from Brooklyn, New York, to someone known more for his sensationalist tactics to drive ratings. He went from investigating the cause of death of legendary singer Elvis Presley to leading the country on a highly publicized prime time special to reveal the contents of a vault once owned by Al Capone. Viewers watched for hours as Geraldo built up the suspense for the big reveal. Viewers were also disappointed when the vault didn't reveal anything important like dead bodies or secrets, but rather empty bottles and some dirt.

That ratings stunt was only a sneak peek at what was yet to come during his self-titled talk show "Geraldo" hit the airwaves in the late 1980s. Whether it was simply to score viewers or out of a "what's the worst that could happen?" mentality, Geraldo continued to find himself in unfortunate situations on the show, including in 1987 when a huge brawl broke out between extremists on his show.

Incredible as it may sound, even after all the sensationalism and Jerry Springer-style antics, Geraldo Rivera continued to be perceived as a top-notch journalist and his career continued. Just because he moved on to more serious news however didn't keep him out of trouble. In fact, as a Fox News correspondent, he found himself under fire again and again including when reporting from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, when reporting from the front lines as an Iraq War correspondent and when discussing the murder cases involving Casey Anthony, who he called a "slut," and Treyvon Matrin, whose murder he blamed on the child's hooded sweatshirt.

Primed to celebrate his 70th birthday in 2013, Geraldo Rivera has made a career of turning heads with his wacky talk shows, journalistic gaffes and off-color comments about everything from Satanism to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Check out more lists like the most controversial Pro Sports figures, the worst television hosts and racist slurs from celebrities.

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  1. 13

    Geraldo Rivera Compares Rolling Stone Journalist to Al Qaeda Terrorists

    You may call Geraldo Rivera a lot of things - a hack, a d-bag, an irrelevant mustachioed joke of a journalist who kind of looks like The Burger King - but one thing you may not call him is "black," particularly if you are a pot. I think you know what I mean. (The kettle thing.)

    Here is how this chain of events played out:

    1. In 2010, freelance journalist Michael Hastings interviewed the top commander in Afghanistan, four-star U.S. Army General Stanley A. McChrystal, and his staff.
    2. Hastings wrote an article, "The Runaway General," featuring quotes from McChrystal and his aides mocking civilian government officials, including Joe Biden, National Security Advisor James L. Jones, and US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry. McChrystal was not directly quoted as being critical of Obama or his policies, but several comments from his aides in the article reflected their perception of McChrystal's disappointment with the President when they met. Prior to the article's release, the staff was contacted to verify the validity of the article - which they did.
    3. McChrystal called Joe Biden to apologize in advance of the article's release to newsstands.
    4. Biden told Obama. Obama read the article. Obama summoned McChrystal to the White House.
    5. McChrystal tendered his resignation, which Obama accepted.
    6. Geraldo Rivera goes on "The O'Reilly Factor" to compare Michael Hastings to two Al Qaeda terrorists who posed as journalists and suicide bombed Sheik Massoud, a valuable U.S. ally in Afghanistan.

    Whoever was in charge of putting that reporter with those soldiers in that context allowed a rat to be in an eagle's nest.
    What can he say? He hates journalists, man. They might as well be drawing maps in the sand for our enemies.

  2. 12

    Geraldo Rivera Wipes Out on Hurricane Ike Seawall

    Nothing like a good old-fashioned pratfall. In 2008, Geraldo Rivera found his sea legs in Galveston, TX, while filming a segment about evacuations during Hurricane Ike. He could be seen on the seawall talking to firefighters before a strong wave knocked him to the ground, all on live television. Lol.

  3. 11

    Geraldo Rivera Tells America That Their Towns Are Overrun with Satanists

    Estimates are that there are over 1 million Satanists in this country. ... The majority of them are linked in a highly organized, very secretive network. From small towns to large cities, they have attracted police and FBI attention to their Satanic sexual child abuse, child pornography, and grisly Satanic murders. The odds are that this is happening in your town.
    So spewed Geraldo Rivera in a 1988 special two-hour exposé, "Devil Worship: Exposing Satan's Underground," aired just days before Halloween.
    He put the fear of God into viewers across the country with what was NBC's highest-rated two-hour documentary to date - though the network reportedly still lost money due to a lack of willing advertisers.

    They were just being smart: Geraldo, after all, didn't have any facts to back up any of his outlandish claims and was believed to have greatly inflated estimates to drive ratings. (In case you're wondering, more credible sources estimate around 10,000 adult members of religious Satanic churches in the U.S. plus another 10,000 people who worship the Devil in the privacy of their own homes.)

  4. 10

    Geraldo Rivera Gets Nose Broken by White Supremacist on His Own Show

    OK, I've got one. Stop me if you've heard it:

    What do white supremacists, black activists, anti-racist skinheads, and Jews have in common?

    Answer: Geraldo

    On Nov. 3, 1988, Rivera invited this motley crüe on stage for his tabloid talk show, "Geraldo." (Spoiler alert: This story ends with the show being labeled "Trash TV.") During the episode, a confrontation broke out between White Aryan Resistance (WAR) soldier John Metzger and African-American civil rights activist Roy Ennis. Punches were thrown, chairs were hurled, stagehands were brought in... and Geraldo's nose was broken.

    On the plus side, ratings for the show went through the roof as news of the fight attracted viewers to the episode before it even aired. On the downside, it earned the show the aforementioned "Trash TV" moniker. Oh well. There's no such thing as bad publicity, right? As you probably know, Geraldo never regained an ounce of respect.

  5. 9

    Geraldo Rivera Gets Heckled Out of Occupy Wall Street

    The young whippersnappers skipping work and showers to Occupy Wall Street were never exactly in Geraldo Rivera's target demographic. Still, he and his Fox News news crew looked uncomfortable if not embarrassed in October 2011 when they tried to enter the protestors' camp. The unwashed and undoctrinated masses surrounded Rivera's crew chanting, simply, "Fox News lies." After a few awkward moments and sheepish martyr smiles, Geraldo and his team fled. To accompany their departure, the crowed began a new chant: "Hey, hey, hey, goodbye."

  6. 8

    Geraldo Rivera Curses at Cameraman Filming Hurricane Katrina Victim

    Look, Hurricane Katrina was rough for everyone, and journalists were no exception. As the flood waters rose, so did Geraldo's frustration when his cameraman couldn't see a victim clinging to part of a building. During a live segment for Fox News, he shouted and cursed, "There's a person - right there, g*ddammit!" - enough to reportedly earn him a fine from the FCC.

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