Bill O’Reilly isn’t exactly known for his logic or for his compassion, but some recent comments he made about child hunger prove he’s even more out of touch with reality than we realized.
In a recent segment on his show, The O’Reilly Factor, Bill had political analyst Kirsten Powers on and they got into a heated discussion about “entitlement culture.” O’Reilly basically said social programs exist because people like trying to get “free stuff.” Powers explained that it’s not “free stuff” when you’re talking about things like basic healthcare or children getting enough food to eat, and that’s when O’Reilly thought it would be a good idea to launch into a tirade about how he believes child hunger is a myth.
He said, “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.” You hear that, guys? If you have air conditioning it basically means you’re rich and incapable of going hungry. Congratulations!
He then went on to call child hunger a “lie on a mass level” and said any hungry kids in America are just the product of “derelicts” who “squander their food stamps.” He even referred to hungry kids as “urchins.” No, really — he said this stuff. Watch:
What’s also disturbing about O’Reilly’s comments is how willingly he demonizes parents who are living in poverty. For people like O’Reilly, there’s no such thing as hardship or lay-offs or disabilities. To him, if you can’t make ends meet, it’s the result of “bad choices” and everyone connected to you deserves to suffer, no questions asked.
The reality, of course, is that plenty of hardworking people still struggle to put food on the table. According to the Coalition Against Hunger, 60 percent of the people who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) work full time, and 80 percent of recipients work in the time immediately preceding or following their benefit period. Sometimes people just hit a rough patch and need a little help.
Hungry kids are not a conspiracy theory or a partisan issue. They’re a very real part of our society and we should be doing everything we can to help them. No one is immune is to falling on hard times, and it’s shameful that we allow people like O’Reilly a platform to suggest otherwise.
If you’re interested in helping hungry kids in your area, please visit NoKidHungry.org.