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O'Reilly again plays judge, jury, hands down sentence

Reported by Chrish - March 6, 2007 -

O'Reilly's TPM tonight 3/05/07 began with reference to the two small children who were given pot to smoke (on videotape - double duh!) by their 17-year-old uncle and his 18-year-old friend and segued into a rundown of which states have passed mandatory sentencing for child sexual predators and which have not, reminding viewers that he is the patriarchal protector (kindly disregard those comments about Hornbeck enjoying his captivity with the rapist). He continued the story of the toddlers in the Top Story with a former judge from New Orleans, Leslie Crocker Snyder.

Now O'Reilly doesn't know this, but he believes that this kind of thing goes on a lot - is he wrong? The judge replied that she hasn't seen anything quite like this in all her years on the bench. The mother, who was napping at the time of the incident, is shown without audio, a young black woman. O'Reilly and Snyder discuss whether she should be charged, and O'Reilly said "same old story, no father, anywhere, mother's 21, ill-educated," but he doesn't know if she would be convicted, since she was sleeping and the boys she left her kids with were certainly old enough to babysit. But, he asserts, she should lose custody because she certainly knew the caliber of the people in her living room.

Snyder jumped in to remind him that there are a lot of good single mothers and hopefully something like this doesn't happen a lot. "But if you look at the stats, and I'm a stat guy, the poverty level and the crime level in single mom homes with an uneducated mother are staggering."

But he wants to get "back to the original premise," that thousands of babies are born addicted to drugs and very few of those people are ever charged. Alcoholism runs rampant, 10% of the adult population in America is deemed alcoholic and they drink in front of their children. 75% of child abuse cases are traced back to intoxicated parents - that's what he's talking about. It seems like an epidemic where, if they're not giving the kids the drugs they're at least displaying the behavior.

Judge Snyder was O'Reilly's kind of judge: she wouldn't consider drug treatment without long prison sentences for a case this serious to be adequate, which is apparently what O'Reilly was going for.

Compare these sweeping statements to coverage on other networks, and you'll find that it was reported elsewhere as an incident and not the "premise" of a broad trend or societal problem, what passes for "analysis" in O'Reilly's world. And nowhere else did I read or hear any journalist try, convict, and strip this mother or her parental rights before she's even been charged with anything.

Social workers will always try to keep families together. We could see from the video that the house was clean and the furniture was nice. For all we know the mom was napping because she works in the day and goes to school at night, or vice versa, or works two jobs. She may not even be guilty of bad judgment - how many stories are there about "nice" people who do stupid or criminal or even heinous things? Once again O'Reilly jumps the gun, passing judgment before all the facts are in.