Bill O’Reilly termed Whitney Houston’s death a suicide (he said she “killed herself” through “decades” of drug use) and said that entertainers such as Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg are “creeps” who contribute to the profits of “Mexican cartels” every time they buy “a marijuana cigarette.”
Making the rounds this morning on The Today Show and Fox and Friends, O’Reilly said Houston “wanted to kill herself.” When asked by Matt Lauer whether TV journalists were in the business of conducting “interventions,” O’Reilly said, “We’re supposed to be in the business of telling the truth.”
On Fox and Friends, O’Reilly said, “This is ridiculous. Whitney Houston killed herself … Is there one public service announcement by any movie star, by any singer, that says to children, ‘Don’t use drugs’? … There isn’t any. Here’s what we see: Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, all of these creeps, and I mean they are creeps, celebrated. … And who are you helping? The Mexican cartels, who’ve killed over 40,000 human beings. Every time you buy a marijuana cigarette, it goes to them!” You can watch the Fox and Friends segment here.
“Well said,” said co-host Steve Doocy.
Well, as for the celebrity PSAs, here’s one, Bill:
and this one:
To Lauer, O’Reilly said, “I don’t believe that anyone 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 it … You don’t have free will when you have lung cancer. You do have free will when you’re a crack addict.”
O’Reilly was ostensibly on The Today Show to plug his Killing Lincoln book, and Lauer said after a few minutes of Houston talk, “Let’s move on a little, because you and I could do this for hours,” said Lauer. “Because I’d always be right,” O’Reilly said. “I know you’d always think you’re right,” Lauer said.
In effect, O’Reilly wanted to turn the Houston death into a “teachable moment,” a term he probably despises. Part of his point, as he said on both NBC and Fox News, was that the media should used the occasion of this death to call attention to the problem of addiction during a time when, as he put it, the media has the public’s attention in its coverage of Houston.
As always, these things come down to questions of timing and taste. Is it “too soon” to be talking about Houston in this way, and extrapolating from her life? O’Reilly doesn’t seem to think so. He emphasized that the media “exploited” Houston instead of helping her, a sentiment many share.
I gotta take exception to the Willie comment, though, Bill: The man who wrote “Hello Walls” is no creep.