June 01, 2000

An Open Letter to Mr. Geraldo Rivera

Since you saw fit to air groundless charges about Aquirus Inc. on your May 25 program and plainly edited the videotape of my responses to make me look the fool, I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight for all who care to know the truth.

The bias of the program was quite clear from the beginning as you assembled and interviewed only a few dozen embittered Aquirus employees and virtually none of the content ones in upper management who would have provided you a different angle. I will not attempt to recount every manifestation of that bias in your hatchet job program, but I think pointing out a few salient, misleading statements should suffice to bely your purported objectivity:

  1. An unidentified person was quoted as saying Aquirus safety inspectors are "routinely drunk," thus besmirching an entire department based on a small minority of problem cases. Further, you never mentioned any of the corrective actions of the firm such as the ban on hard alchohol and strict limits on beer and wine consumed during work hours.
  2. In discussing the late Mr. Quito's unfortunate palletizer incident, you fail to mention subsequent safety improvements such as the new signs discouraging use of drugs and alcohol while operating heavy machinery and banning future participation in the "chicken" game devised by some employees. As the person to whom fell the responsibility of informing Mr. Quito's young wife of his death and organizing the search of shipments for his remains, this is particularly offensive to me.
  3. Through clever editing and taking quotes out of context, you made Vice President Robb's remarks on "peons," "morons," and "white trash" appear to take on a negative connotation that was in no way intended. (In addition, we would certainly expect a report of your experience to know the meaning of the term "off the record.")
  4. The precise relationship between certain Aquirus executives and their administrative assistants is of no business to your show or your viewers, and the security system videotape you aired was clearly obtained illegally. In addition, I hardly think it your role to define what constitutes "strange and aberrant" behaviors between two consenting adults in (what they believed was) the privacy of one of their offices.
  5. Finally, I'm sure it is easy for a liberal program such as yours to mock company initiatives like "Double Work Day" and "Abstinence At Work Week," but we feel they are keys to a productive and employable work force.
I could go on, but I believe that any open-minded person can see that there was no vestige of a reporter's duty to expose the truth in this program. You can save your apology for the Aquirus attorneys who will be contacting you shortly.

Clinton W. Fesko
President, CNO
Aquirus Inc.