Fox News’ latest segment may just be the worst thing they’ve ever run and from a programme with a history of extreme bias and horribly offensive opinions, that really is saying something.
Yesterday, anchor Bill O’Reilly ran a mean spirited segment in which he characterised homeless people in New York City’s Penn Station as dangerous.
Besides playing off some of the worst stereotypes about the homeless, it also appeared to have been put together with little to no research, and based solely off the opinions of Fox News staffers.
O’Reilly decided to argue that the rise in people sleeping rough is due to relaxed law enforcement because of “uber-liberal” Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policing policies. There is literally no evidence to support this assertion.
In using the genuine plight of vulnerable people to take a shot at a mayor he dislikes, O’Reilly did nothing to bring attention to the real issue of what could be behind a recent rise of homeless people at the train station.
A 2015 report by the Coalition of the Homeless showed that, although homelessness appeared to stabilise between 2014 and 2015, it’s trended upwards for decades — long before de Blasio took office in January 2014.
The number of homeless people tracked in the New York City shelter system has more than tripled in the last two decades, due to a growing shortage of affordable rental housing and a simultaneous increase in poverty.
Of course, addressing issues like that would require some basic human empathy, something which Fox News doesn’t exactly have an abundance of. O’Reilly is, after all, the same guy who once said, “We don’t owe homeless veterans anything”.
Media Matters’ Carlos Maza called O’Reilly’s segment “one of the most dehumanising things I’ve seen on Fox” and we’re inclined to agree. This was awful on every conceivable level.