Video: Bill O'Reilly Battles Matt Lauer Over Addiction

By Mike Guy 02/16/12

Discussing Whitney Houston's death, the Fox News host declares that "free will" is the way to overcome crack addiction.

On this morning's Today show, host Matt Lauer traded jabs with guest Fox News attack dog Bill O'Reilly, who has voiced skepticism that addiction is a disease, and believes that "free will" is the way to overcome something like crack addiction. Lauer quoted O'Reilly's remarks, "Whitney Houston wanted to kill herself. The hard truth is that some people will always want to destroy themselves and there's nothing society can do about it." O'Reilly went on to explain that someone who thinks addiction is a disease "doesn't believe in free will. I don't believe anyone is a slave to addiction."

The recovery world generally doesn't hold with the idea that free will is the essential component to getting clean. In fact, the 12 Steps work toward replacing free will with a higher power. O'Reilly disagrees. "I do believe it's a disease—it's a mental disease, but you have free will and you can get through the disease. As millions of people do. You don’t have free will when you have lung cancer; you do have free will when you’re a crack addict."

Houston had publicly fought addiction for decades before her death on Saturday, February 11, including at least three visits to treatment centers. To Lauer's exasperation, O'Reilly went on to say that the media overlooked her problems for decades. “You know what we in the media do, Lauer?” O’Reilly asked. “We wink wink it, we Snoop Dogg it. We Willie Nelson it. Hey, oh yeah, they’re stoned. That’s fine. And what message does that send? It’s okay!”

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