Bill O’Reilly really needs to get out of his millionaire bubble and find out what it’s truly like to be poor in this country.
O’Reilly used his Talking Points commentary to wholeheartedly endorse Jeb Bush’s “free stuff” comments. Then he debated Kirsten Powers on the subject. But I’d say he got more than he bargained for from Powers’ feisty response:
POWERS: What you call “free stuff” and what Jeb Bush calls “free stuff” that actually are necessities in life. So, the problem with when he said “free stuff” is that he’s talking about children getting food. He’s talking about people who—a lot of the people who receive welfare, even the adults are working poor. They’re people who have jobs. But they don’t have enough money to get food, so it’s –
O’REILLY: Yeah, but that’s—that myth has been busted time and time and time again.
POWERS: It’s is not a myth, it’s not even—it’s not a myth, no, no.
…O’REILLY: Powers. If you look at the studies of poverty, most poor people in this country have computers, have big screen TVs, have cars, have air conditioning. This myth that there are kids who don’t have anything to eat is a total lie. And –
POWERS: It is absolutely not a lie, and there actually are students –
O’REILLY: It is absolutely a total lie on a mass level.
POWERS: There actually are students in New York City, there are kids in New York City who go all weekend without anything to eat except when they eat in the schools. That is absolutely a fact.
O’REILLY: Oh, that is such the biggest baloney. You produce one. You produce one. You can’t.
POWERS: And I know it’s a fact, I know that because of the churches that I have worked with in New York City who serve those children. I mean, it’s an absolute fact.
O’REILLY: There are food banks in these churches, and it goes back to the parents who are usually derelicts of some kind …and who squander the food stamps that come in, who sell them on the black market. This is insane. You are telling me that you believe in the United States of America, with all the entitlement programs and food stamps and everything else, there are urchins running around that don’t have any food because of the system? …No, it’s their parents who are abusing them.
POWERS: …Being poor is not child abuse. And there are people who actually work very hard and who still cannot make enough money to make ends meet and have enough food for their children. And I’m sorry that you refuse to believe that, but it –
O’REILLY: That is, look. The entitlement culture that we have in place, the entitlement culture we have in place—public housing, food stamps, direct payments, all kinds of things have wiped that out.
POWERS: I know, they’re just living it up.
O’REILLY: It’s only if you abuse the system by not using the food stamps for food that that happens.
POWERS: Bill, no. That’s not what happens. There are people who legitimately are having a difficult time getting by.
BOR Very few! …I’m going by the stats, Powers.
Actually, Bill, the stats tell quite a different story.
According to an article in USA Today, a report by Feeding America found that nearly 16 million children have “limited access to sufficient food.” The problem is worse for children in rural areas.
It is relatively easy to get on a bus and get to a food bank in a big city, explained [Ross Fraser, Director of Media Relations at Feeding America]. However, it’s different “if you’re living in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming, where there is no public transportation and you might be a hundred miles from the nearest food pantry, and you don’t have a working car, and there’s not a grocery store within miles and miles.”
Got that, Bill? Not everybody can get to the food they need.
Furthermore, USA Today also notes that food benefits have been cut:
The situation may also be considerably worse than it seems. Benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have been sharply reduced since November 2013, after the data for the report was collected. Prior to the cut, 45% of all SNAP beneficiaries were children, according to Feeding America.
One other thing in the USA Today article: New Mexico, the state that has the highest food-insecurity rate for children, also has a relatively low unemployment rate.
From Feeding America, which notes that 71% of their client households with children have had at least one member employed in the past year:
Feeding America client households often survive on limited budgets and are confronted with choices between paying for food and paying for other essentials. These dilemmas can put households in the position of choosing between competing necessities. A majority of client households report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities (69%), transportation (67%), medical care (66%), or housing (57%) at some point during the year. Among households making these spending tradeoffs, typically one-third report doing so every month.
But, waving his pen in the air, O’Reilly said, “Look, I challenge you and you can come on any night to bring in here a family, alright? Who can’t feed their children. And I will put them on the air.”
Powers said, “OK,” and the segment abruptly ended.
Let’s hope it happens.
Watch it below, from the October 6 The O'Reilly Factor, via Media Matters.
Thank you for pushing back, Kirsten.
He is a really bad person with a delusional view of the world.
I used to work in a government anti-poverty program and I can assure you the “frugal” USDA meal plan guidance isn’t something the typical red meat gorging conservative will enjoy. So if Bill is forced onto it he’ll quickly realize – Fox News bs to the contrary poor people are gorging themselves on lobster on the taxpayers’ dime – it still sucks to be poor. Then he can rest easy on his mattress stuffed with cash.
Not that I don’t empathize with Bill’s plight the poor don’t work as hard as he does faking outrage 5 days a week for an hour and thus undeserving of his success. 😉
We can see it now! Thousands and thousands of angry letters and phone calls from Billy’s audience accusing him of hating the military.
NOTE TO POWERS
Get a low-rank military family and watch Billy backtrack his comments.
If, on the odd chance, it does, you can best believe that O’Reilly will get his little punk-bitch to “ambush” them (and I wouldn’t put it past the pair of them to arrange a set-up that would put the family in the worst possible light—such as inviting them to a fairly posh restaurant and making it look like that’s how the family always eats).