Jan. 13, 2012

For months I have been fruitlessly searching the record for a public apology from even one prominent perpetrator of the ritual-abuse day-care hoax. At last I have happened upon such a statement:

“I want to announce publicly that as a firm believer of the ‘Believe The Children’ movement of the 1980s, that started with the McMartin trials in California…. I am now convinced that I was terribly wrong… and many innocent people were convicted and went to prison as a result….

So who was this lone heroic figure who stepped forward, confessed his mistake and acknowledged the pain it had caused? Was it a repentant prosecutor or judge? A psychologist, perhaps?

120113RiveraWell, no. It was Geraldo Rivera.

Of all the talk-show hosts who grabbed giddily, repeatedly and unquestioningly onto the latest claim of ritual abuse, it was Geraldo, starting in 1987, who went furthest over the top.

“Estimates are that there are over 1 million Satanists in this country…” he told viewers. “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 ritual child abuse, child pornography and grisly Satanic murders. The odds are that this is happening in your town.”

By Dec. 12, 1995, however, Geraldo had experienced a change of heart. That’s the night he hosted the CNBC special “Wrongly Accused and Convicted of Child Molestation.”

“He is to be commended for stating his new belief in public,” observed the invaluable religioustolerance.org.

“Unfortunately, a one-minute apology and recantation is hardly sufficient to reverse the damage done by many hours of sensational programming, grounded on misinformation.”