Bill O’Reilly jerked Matt Lauer’s chain on the Today Show with his circular logic and selective use of the facts. He claimed drug addiction, like homosexuality, can be “cured” because people have free will.
Sadly Matt lost his cool because O’Reilly counts on that. But what’s he supposed to do when someone like O’Reilly makes bald assertions and acts as if he’s speaking universal truths.
The subject, of all things, was Whitney Houston, and what message the public should take away from her death. O’Reilly looped back to his favorite whipping dog, the news media.
The far-right Fox commentator said last week Houston “wanted to kill herself” because of her long history of drug abuse. “Nobody takes drugs that long if they want to stay on the planet,” he said. That suggests that her drug use was calculated an purposeful.
Set aside for a moment, that the cause of death has yet to be determined, and Houston could easily have died from other causes, like heart disease. Lauer tried to explain that addiction is a disease. It involves abnormalities in brain chemistry.
But O’Reilly brushed off medical science and said no one is a “slave to addiction.”
“I believe it is a disease, it’s a mental disease, but you have free will and you can get through the disease, as millions of people have chosen to do. You don’t have free will when you have lung cancer. You do have free will when you’re a crack addict.”
Hmmm… has he ever tried crack? Researchers have found that cocaine-addicted monkeys will press a bar more than 12,000 times to get a single dose. As soon as they get it, they will start pressing the bar for more, according to medical references.
But O’Reilly’s real target was the news media. He said the media has had a lax attitude about drug use. He cited, for example rising acceptance of medical marijuana. (See what we mean by circular logic). As a result the media tends to overlook celebrity drug use.
“Everybody knew she was a drug addict for two decades,” he said, while the media goes “wink-wink.” Instead, he added, the media glorifies pot smokers like Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson, who, incidentally, is still going strong at 78.
“I have seen dozens of stories over the years detailing the addiction, the erratic behavior, the denial of behavior,” Lauer countered about Houston. “Are journalists supposed to be in the business of conducting interventions?”
“They’re supposed to be in the business of telling the truth …,” answered O’Reilly. “… and the truth is if you get into hard drugs you can go at any time.” Of course, that wasn’t his original point; he said Houston purposely committed a slow suicide, and that free will can cure addiction.
No wonder Lauer was left muttering “Oh, for …”
Check out the video below.