Bill O'Reilly (Fox News)

Bill O'Reilly doesn't hate poor people — he's just upset that they're "wasting their lives"

O'Reilly is annoyed by poor people, Bernie Goldberg said, but only because their poverty "hurts him, personally"


Scott Eric Kaufman
May 15, 2015 5:50PM (UTC)

Host Bill O'Reilly devoted nearly nine minutes last night to criticizing President Barack Obama and a New York Times columnist for claiming that Fox News in general -- and O'Reilly in particular -- believe that poverty is a matter of personal failure.

After attacking New York Times columnist Charles Blow for allegedly misrepresenting his position on poverty, O'Reilly went after the president, saying "it's a lot easier to criticize Fox News than it is for him to stress personal responsibility to the liberal precincts."

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O'Reilly neglected to mention that the Obama's comment about Fox News was an offhand remark made during a 76-minute-long "summit" on poverty in which the president addressed the role of personal responsibility at length.

For example, Obama said that he is "all for values -- I am all for character. But I also know that that character and the values that our kids have that allow them to succeed, and delayed gratification and discipline and hard work -- that all those things in part are shaped by what they see, what they see really early on."

Fox News contributor Bernie Goldberg later joined O'Reilly to continue the attack on Blow and Obama, saying that -- as a long-time follower of O'Reilly -- he doesn't believe the Fox News host is angry at poor people, it's just that his "Catholicism makes him angry at people for wasting their lives, for throwing opportunity away, and throwing their lives away."

"I've never thought you were name-calling poor people," he added. "My guess is you have a lot of admiration for the working poor. So I think if Blow wanted to be more open-minded and fair, he would say that, 'I think O'Reilly does get annoyed at some poor people some time, but only because it hurts him, personally, that they're wasting their lives.'"

O'Reilly agreed, but said in addition to the personal pain that other people's poverty causes him, he's just as hurt by "the narrative that the government can solve the poverty problem, when it's beyond a reasonable doubt that it cannot, it will not -- it's a fraud."

Watch the entire segment via Fox News.

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Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Barack Obama Bill O'reilly Fox News Poverty The O'reilly Factor Video




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