Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Sunday said he was outraged that the media portrayed Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton as civil rights leaders because both men were simply "hustlers and pimps."
The morning after a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty for the murder of Trayvon Martin, Fox News host Clayton Morris asked Geraldo Rivera if he agreed with defense attorney Mark O'Mara that the trial would never have happened if the defendant had been black.
Rivera acknowledged that O'Mara was "onto something" because "this was bald face race politics, the president gave the signal, Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton -- two men I hold in very high regard -- but when they stirred things up, they did it in a way that I think was way over, over the top."
"The million hoodie march and all rest of it," he continued. "And all the criticism I got for saying about this youngster, you dress like a thug, people are going to treat you like a thug. That's true. I stand by that... That's the reality. You don't send your kids into the rainy night and then have them walk in back alleys in troubled neighborhoods and expect a good result."
Carlson said that he felt "terrible" for the Martin family, but he was "positive that people like Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton do not deserve to be called civil rights leaders. They are not."
"They are hustlers and pimps who make a living off inflaming racial tensions," he continued. "They know nothing about this. They're not residents of Florida, they don't represent anybody, they're not elected to anything, they don't have constituencies. And they only reason they are allowed to do this is because we in the press enable them by calling them civil rights leaders. Why do we do that?"
"You know, Tucker, let's not have that debate this morning," Rivera advised. "But I will agree with you in this regard, you had 11 black kids killed last weekend Chicago -- 11, 40-odd wounded. Where was the Rev. Sharpton, where was the Rev. Jackson? That's the real civil rights crisis in urban America today."
Sharpton announced last week that he would be moving to Chicago to address the issue of gun violence.
"I am taking an apartment to put a spotlight on gun violence," the MSNBC host told a crowd at the at the Greater St. John Bible Church in Austin. "Although voting rights and other things exist, our challenge inside is gun violence and putting the focus on ourselves."
"The problem with the people who have a national reputation is that they drive by and local activists don’t even know they are coming," he added. "Through radio and the TV show and talking to people in the trenches, we will bring a national spotlight."
Jackson, who already lives in Chicago, told Fox News host Neil Cavuto last week that he was working to curb gun violence by fighting poverty and brining jobs to the area.