Last night, Bill O’Reilly ran a segment on his show about New York City’s Penn Station’s homeless ‘problem’. In what transpired to be a truly vile piece of reporting, the Factor sent snazzily dressed reporter Jesse Watters to gawk at black homeless people while asking commuters how much they hated having to deal with them:
Of course O’Reilly blamed the “uber-liberal” Mayor Bill de Blasio for the increased number of homeless people in the station, citing his airy fairy policing policies that stop the police violating people’s human rights. This evidence free assertion is of course a far better explanation than the enormous public housing crisis in New York City and the surging rent and home prices that have led to a 20% rise in the cost of living over the past five years.
Sadly though, O’Reilly’s report on the homeless crisis in New York City is actually an improvement. In yesterday’s report, Fox News did interview people who felt bad for the homeless, and O’Reilly at least acknowledged that the homeless should have somewhere to live. This is a far cry from 2006, when O’Reilly was so virulently anti homeless that he asserted on his radio show that they were merely people who will “not support themselves” because they “want to get drunk, or they want to get high, or they don’t want to work because they’re too lazy.”
Again, O’Reilly’s evidence free assertion is a far better explanation than the actual data. As Media Matters reported at the time:
According to the National Resource and Training Center on Homelessness and Mental Illness (NRTCHMI), among the leading causes of homelessness in America are debilitating mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and manic depression, physical and sexual abuse, abject poverty, and other involuntary health conditions such as diabetes and cancer. Nearly 39 percent of the homeless report mental health problems, and nearly 25 percent of them meet the criteria for serious mental illness. In fact as many homeless people report mental illnesses as report problems with alcohol use, and similarly as many people report sexual and physical abuse as report drug use problems. In addition, 25 percent of the homeless population is reportedly under the age of 18.
It appears O’Reilly has grown kinder and gentler in his old age – a scary thought given how revolting he still is.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.