Bill O'Reilly Makes Millions of Marijuana Arrests Disappear

Fox NewsFox NewsLast month, during a tirade about The Denver Post's decision to hire a marijuana editor, Bill O'Reilly was puzzled by the idea that wine intoxicates people and treated the notion that a newspaper would print bar reviews or cocktail recipes as self-evidently absurd. Yesterday, in another exchange with Fox News commentators Juan Williams and Mary Katharine Ham, O'Reilly revealed that he does not know people get arrested for marijuana possession:

O'Reilly: Primarily, the left embraces the drug culture to some extent....What is it about the drug culture...that's so compelling for some of them?

Williams: Well, I don't think it's compelling, but I think that if you start to arrest their children and give them records and put barriers in front of their futures and their careers, I think people say, "Wait a second." As you said in the previous segment, this is soft drug use. Why are you arresting and giving this kid a record, especially minority kids. Disproportionately, they're the ones who get arrested.

O'Reilly: Only dealers, Juan. There's no mass arrests of users.

Williams: No, no, no, Bill.

Ham: No, users are arrested.

O'Reilly: No, they get a ticket, Juan.

Williams: I don't think that's right, Bill.

O'Reilly: No, it is right.

Williams: And I think lots of people fear for their children. By the way, you should know, it's not just liberals—

O'Reilly: So by your thinking, then, people fear for their children so they want to make drugs more available. Let's legalize them so they don't get a rap sheet.

Williams: No, no, no, I didn't say that. I didn't say more available. I said, listen, the kid gets out there, the kid's involved in soft drugs, by your own definition, gets arrested. Suddenly he's got a record, all sorts of things that would inhibit his or her progress in life.

O'Reilly: It's almost impossible. The records are expunged if they are juveniles. You know what the game is here. This is not a crime that is actively pursued by district attorneys. All right. I'm just going to discount that argument, Juan.

According to the the FBI, police in the United States made about 750,000 marijuana arrests in 2012, the vast majority (87 percent) for simple possession. That is down from a peak of more than 858,000 pot busts in 2009. From 1996 through 2012, there were more than 12 million marijuana arrests, accounting for 44 percent of all drug arrests during that period. More than 11 million of the pot busts involved simple possession. Pace O'Reilly, those are arrests, not tickets. 

Even when police are supposed to issue a citation for possession of small amounts, they may find an excuse for an arrest. In New York City, where O'Reilly works, police managed to make more than 600,000 such arrests from 1996 through 2012, a period when pot busts skyrocketed even though the state legislature decriminalized marijuana possession in 1977. Often marijuana is revealed during a stop-and-frisk encounter, whereupon the cop charges the target with "public display," which is a misdemeanor, as opposed to mere possession, which is a violation.

As Williams pointed out, the people busted for marijuana possession are disproportionately black and Hispanic, even though survey data show whites are just as likely to smoke pot. In New York City, blacks and Hispanics together account for 87 percent of marijuana arrests, and there are similar disparities in other jurisdictions. On average, according to a 2013 ACLU report, blacks are about four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.

In Bill O'Reilly's world, none of this is happening, which I suppose helps explain how he can so blithely continue to support marijuana prohibition.

[via Media Matters for America]

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  • prolefeed||

    How the fuck does a middle-aged man in a position of authority like O'Reilly not know something as basic as people get arrested for drug use?

  • wareagle||

    okay, pedant, a position of influence. Like other hosts, he has an audience primarily of people predisposed to agree with him. How many of them now think Juan is full of shit because Bill dismissed arrests as having never happened?

  • John C. Randolph||

    a position of influence.

    Nope, he doesn't have that, either.

    -jcr

  • prolefeed||

    Lotta people listen to him.

    Can't fathom why, but they do.

    "Influence" seems about the right word choice.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    position of authority

    position of influence

    A position of his cranium firmly planted in his rectum? Can we agree on that?

  • BSubversive.com||

    Bloviating Bastard?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Should I hate them all?

    Nope, just the ones who are either pompous asses or just plain wrong? Take your pick with Wimmiam.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Or even William.

  • Irish||

    This is seriously the worst troll. He exists for no purpose except to ask pedantic questions with obvious answers.

    He's like Bo without the earnestness.

  • Jordan||

    No kidding.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Odd that a troll would have Reasonable? (At least I'm assuming...I sure as shit wouldn't be typing "blockquote" twice per quote)

  • Jordan||

    I sure as shit wouldn't be typing "blockquote" twice per quote

    Well, I don't have Reasonable.

  • dinkster||

    What is this Reasonable you speak of? I've just been using html tags.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Here.

    It's a Chrome extension that once you use it, won't be able to live without.

  • dinkster||

    Danke!

  • Jon Lester||

    Si eu.

  • SIV||

    I type all my html tags, with just one finger and my thumb. The thumb is for "shift".

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Please elaborate. I'm nearly HTML illiterate.

  • Generic Stranger||



    Please elaborate. I'm nearly HTML illiterate.

    To do what I just did there, I have to type [blockquote]"your quote"[/blockquote], except replace the [] with the greater than and less than signs.

    Blockquote formats it so that the text is indented with a bar at the side to tell you that it's quoted text.

    Reasonable apparently will insert the HTML tags for you, if you wish to be supremely lazy.

  • dinkster||

    Reasonable apparently will insert the HTML tags for you, if you wish to be supremely lazy.

    Progress you damn luddite!

  • dinkster||

    Reasonable also comment tracks, which is fantastic.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Progress you damn luddite!

    Progress that requires me to use Chrome is actually Congress.

  • prolefeed||

    Used the wrong word. Wareagle rephrased what I intended to say.

  • ImanAzol||

    Likely uses himself and has memory trouble.

  • Steve G||

    What do you expect from Bill "I'm going to say what I think is true with absolute confidence and certainty and you have to prove it's wrong" O'Reilly.

  • Almanian!||

    "Steve G? I'll give you the last word..."

  • Monkey's Uncle||

    There is much O'Reilly doesn't know and I'm not sure what you mean by 'authority.' He is a talking head and, like some, often his mind is on vacation while his mouth is working overtime. Just like his 'tide comes in, tide goes out' comments a year or so ago.

  • Monkey's Uncle||

    at least Parsons doesn't pretend he isn't an actor. just sayin'

  • Almanian!||

    The tide comes in, the tide goes out - Bill can't explain that....

  • Monkey's Uncle||

    ^^^^
    THIS

    Billy O is one of hundreds of examples of why many of us don't watch much if any of the infotainment on the tube. Like most, he is a parody of himself and making a nice living at it, thank you very little.

  • Homple||

    O'Reilly is right up with Limbaugh on the scale of arrogant prickery. It's possible I'd agree with some stuff they have to say, but I so dislike the sight, sound, and attitude of the pair of them that I can't stay around to listen.

  • pmains||

    At least Limbaugh has the instincts to play the arrogant SOB character for laughs. Bill really is angry about facts not matching his pre-existing biases.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Yeah, zod forbid we hold, what passes for, the media to any kind of standard concerning their facts.

  • Irish||

    And it's almost as if others of us are deeply and neurotically offended that a website disagrees with someone on cable T.V.

    Do you not see the hypocrisy in your ludicrous argument?

  • juris imprudent||

    C'mon - he knew. He said this isn't a DA priority - which means he knows it is more than a ticket.

    He plays dumb when that is convenient and smart.. oh, does he ever actually play smart?

  • Joseph C. Moore (USN Ret.||

    I fully agree with your chacterization of O'Reilly and Limbaugh and the same goes for many of the other "conservatives". I side with the Constitutionalists and find those other guys to be arrogant NWO republicans who collude with the Marxist/democrats.

  • Irish||

    When someone with millions of viewers is wrongly saying that no one is arrested for pot use, don't you think that other people should put out the truth in order to check the lies?

    Or in your world should lies never be corrected?

  • SugarFree||

    Billy O is a master at telling people who are very invested in their ignorance that they are the smartest people around. There is always money in that. Shamelessness helps as well. You could present him the numbers from an unimpeachable source and the best case scenario is that he will take off running with the goalposts.

  • Aresen||

    Pray, how does this distinguish O'Reilly from Rachel Maddow, David Brooks, PZ Myers or Paul Krugman?

  • Andrew S.||

    Not another "if you dislike Person X (on the right), you must support Person Y (on the left)" argument. I thought everyone that would post here, except for Tulpa and Tony and shrike, learned that long ago.

  • Andrew S.||

    er, learned that "those were terrible arguments" long ago.

  • Aresen||

    ?

    How was I arguing that?

    My point was precisely the opposite: They are indistinguishable.

  • Joseph C. Moore (USN Ret.||

    O'Reilly differs from those "liberals" only in his rhetoric which he professes to be the anti-democrat.

  • juris imprudent||

    Sounds like a movie or sumthin'.

  • Almanian!||

    Watching the Smithsonian special on the Concorde plane again. What a fucking magnificent piece of engineering. I REALLY wanted to take a flight on one...but it was grounded before I got the chance :(

    Maybe they'll get the private space flights affordable before I die...

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    There really should have been a market for that.

  • Agammamon||

    Maybe if they get a government program to work on it they can get the costs down - like how the Concorde only cost around $8000 a seat!

  • Josh M.||

    O'Reilly really is in his own world. Give him almost any topic, and his view of said topic is wrong.

  • RazorRay||

    Am I the only person alive who remembers this cad as the host of "A Current Affair?"

  • PH2050||

    Culture warriors gonna culture war.

    I do not purchase cable television service. Instead of being tempted to watch O'Reilly's nutjob antics I can spend that money on (state)legal marijuana instead.

  • Todd Gilbert||

    This guy just pulls "facts" out of thin air especially regarding the drug war. He also stated there were studies regarding all the problems stemming from marijuana since legalizing pot in Colorado. Really studies in 6 day's since it's been legalized, hardly. The other guest shot O'Rielly down also when he started giving bogus stats from the NIH which I guess O'Rielly didn't know he was a board member.

  • Globe Moving and Storage||

    Instead of arresting dealers, why fbi arresting users ?

  • Paul Pot||

    Bull Orally can spin all he wants.
    42% of Americans support him.

  • D. M. Michell||

    Bill O' probably doesn't know that during Prohibition the teen drinking rate went up because alcoholic beverages were illegal.
    Making marijuana (and other drugs) legal to adults on proof of age would reduce (not stop) minors from accessing those drugs. Here's why Mr. O' is a pinhead. http://logicversusemotion.blog.....nhead.html

  • Russ Davis||

    pinheads are those who would enslave kids to drugs by legalizing them. This is why we have the 2nd Amendment for when the land becomes so lawless that we must use force to protect our loved ones from such a horrible fate the cruelty of thoughtless, historically and especialy Biblically illiterate libertarians would provide. All the lies about Prohibition being a failure (it wasn't) forget the inconvenient fact that the liquor industry designed it to fail by not making possession illegal, only transport, creating a disaster so great as to make a drug free America unthinkable, enslaving the people as they were riotously successful in doing, slavery ironically being a popular tool of libertarians.

  • John Galt||

    Bill is such a pin head.

  • Russ Davis||

    Whatever errors O'Reilly may be guilty of, compared to Sullum's and Fox's vile, evil derangement he's virtuous. The lawless, deviant corruption that would enslave people to drugs by legalizing them is part of that for which the Founders provided the 2nd Amendment, when the law becomes so lawless & degenerate that one's loved ones are no longer protected and we must take things into our own hands to protect them. All that evil needs to triumph is for good people to stand by and do nothing like when degenerate obscenities corrupt and enslave our kids by legalizing drugs and lying with lawless, historical and especially Biblical illiteracy in their libertarian lunacy about what they're really doing.

  • thorax232||

    God, reading these arguments is like being on Reddit.

  • D. M. Michell||

    Are you saying that you want to bring the prohibition of alcohol back along with the increase in organized crime and murders? And how about prohibiting tobacco products, too? That will definitely spawn a multi-billion dollar a year black market, along with real crimes like robbery and murder. As to being a Biblically illiterate Libertarian, I suppose then that you are Bibically literate, which means that you are all for father-daughter incest which is not prohibited in the Bible and God did not punish Lot and his daughters for having sex. Strange, though, God did punish Lot's wife, merely for looking back at Sodom and Gomorrah. And one last thing from the Bible: Sons who do not respect and obey their parents are to be stoned to death. You all for that, too?

  • D. M. Michell||

    My previous comment was addressed to Russ Davis.

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