Fox News host Bill O’Reilly dismissed the idea on Tuesday that children can be poor in the US during a discussion with contributor Kirsten Powers, Media Matters reported. “If you look back at the studies of poverty, most poor people in this country have computers, have big screen TVs, have cars, have air conditioning,” O’Reilly said. “This myth that there are kids who don’t have anything to eat is a total lie.”
“It is absolutely not a lie,” Powers said, only to be cut off by the Factor host. “It is absolutely a total lie on a mass level,” he shot back. “There are kids in New York City who go all weekend without anything to eat except when they eat in the schools,” Powers countered. “That is absolutely a fact.”
O’Reilly did not specify the “studies” to which he was referring. But the advocacy group No Kid Hungry stated that more than 474,000 children in New York City are at risk of hunger. Moreover, only 34 percent of children getting free or discounted lunches in the city’s school system also eat breakfast regularly.
On the national level, the Department of Agriculture reported last year that 16 million children had inconsistent levels of access to food. Overall, the department stated, 49 million Americans had trouble eating regularly. However, O’Reilly returned to the Fox talking point on Tuesday that initiatives like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) were being abused by people selling “food stamps” on the “black market.”
“This is insane,” he said to Powers. “You are telling me that you believe in the United States of America, with all the entitlement programs and food stamps and everything else, there are urchins running around that don’t have any food because of the system?”