Kwame Rose, the Baltimore resident who confronted Fox News' Geraldo Rivera over media's biased coverage of the city, responded to Rivera's personal on-air attacks in an interview with Media Matters. Rose reacted to video of his interaction with Rivera going viral, discussed the media landscape in Baltimore, and highlighted racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
National media has swarmed to cover the Baltimore protesters who have taken to the streets to voice concerns about the criminal justice system following the shocking death of Freddie Gray, a young Baltimore resident whose spine was fatally severed while in police custody. Fox's Rivera was among those pundits reporting on the protests when Rose confronted the Fox personality and expressed frustration that the network failed to spotlight Gray's death in favor of hyping the unrest that ensued, an exchange that quickly found a large audience online.
Rivera later used his platform on Fox News to bash Rose as a “vandal,” “annoying,” and an “obstructionist” on-air. He accused Rose of displaying “exactly that kind of youthful anarchy that led to the destruction and pain in that community.”
Rose has responded to Geraldo and to the video's popularity, in an email exchange with Media Matters.
“I want people to know that this issue is bigger than some clip of me, it's about Black Lives,” said Rose, after emphasizing that being featured in a viral video was never his intention. His frustration lies with establishment media and its depictions of Baltimore in the wake of the unrest.
“I have been out protesting for almost two weeks now without being on one camera,” Rose explained. “After Monday night when the media started pouring in, I sat at work and watched how the media basically forced people to believe that Baltimore was some Third World city. I just wanted to set the record straight and let it be known that this generation refuses to be misinterpreted.”
Rose noted how the media paid attention to the violence in Baltimore, but failed to cover the community's efforts to unite and clean up the city.
“I sat and watched the media set up their camps in front of boarded up homes ... while we were cleaning up the streets as one community. The cameras weren't rolling, nobody cared. Outside agitators such as Fox News came onto the scene trying to exploit the situation. I don't care about the people watching Fox News, but I will not let you report lies about the people of this city.”
Rose appeared largely dismissive of Geraldo and his personal attacks. He explained that in the minutes before the interaction captured on video, Geraldo was “walking around taking selfies and telling jokes.”
“When I approached him he continuously kept trying to avoid any intellectual conversation,” said Rose.
“Geraldo is like the majority of America,” Rose continued. “He fears a Black man so much that he [would] rather try to instigate a fight than to engage in a conversation. If you've seen the full clip of the video you'd know that his verbal assaults were a waste of breath.”
Rose also addressed the tendency of conservative media to deflect from stories about police brutality in favor of discussions of black-on-black crime, even though they “are incomparable subjects.”
Video credit Benjamin Hancock