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Bill O'Reilly Attacks Appalachia

Reported by Ellen - February 14, 2009 -

There's a new part of the country that “Pro-America” FOX News hates: Appalachia. On last night's (2/13/09) O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly pronounced the region, a swath through 13 states, a lost cause and an area full of drunks. In O'Reilly's mind Diane Sawyer's interest in improving the lives of Appalachian children, via an ABC documentary about their overwhelming challenges, was nothing less than a waste of time. O'Reilly dismissed the whole subject by calling Appalachia a "culture of poverty," characterizing the adults as a bunch of substance abusers and saying that the only thing kids growing up there should do to improve their lives is “get the heck out of there.” With video.

“There is a reason why some areas remain poor, generation after generation despite massive assistance,” O'Reilly announced at the beginning of the “Unresolved Problems” segment. “There are Rocky Mountains. They're not poor there. There are Sierras. They're not poor there.” Well, maybe not AS poor. But there is certainly poverty in both areas. Maybe it's just not enough to concern millionaire, “I'm looking out for you” O'Reilly. Apparently, to merit his attention, poverty has to fall into a certain proscribed parameter: Poorer than the Rockies, not as poor as Appalachia.

“I submit to you that the culture in Appalachia harms the children almost beyond repair... There's really nothing we can do about it,” O'Reilly told Sawyer.

She had a different view, of course. She said, “The great opportunity is the information economy... These kids are as smart as the kids in India.”

“Sure,” O'Reilly agreed. “But their parents are screwed up. That's the thing... Kids get married at 16 and 17. Their parents are drunks. I'm generalizing now. (Gee, ya think?) There's a lot of meth. There's a lot of irresponsibility. There's fear to go. Look, if I'm born in Appalachia, the first chance I get, I go to Miami. Because that's where the jobs are. But they stay there. And the cycle of poverty for 200 years – boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And I don't want to sound hopeless about it but I think it IS hopeless.”

Evidently, one reason the kids should leave is so that it doesn't become too industrialized and thereby intrude on O'Reilly's sensitive sense of aesthetics. “I don't want to rebuild the infrastructure of Appalachia. I want to leave it pristine. It's beautiful,” O'Reilly said.

But, he added, “I gotta tell you, people have to help themselves, you know? They have to wise up and they have to see that there's a culture of poverty there, a culture of ignorance there. And you either leave or you try to improve it any way you can.”

Sawyer told him there are plenty of people fighting there.

O'Reilly said, “Americans should pull together. And I'm with you.”

Quite a display of Americans pulling together you just put on, Bill.