Bill O'Reilly went head-to-head with HotAir editor-at-large Mary Katharine Ham on his Fox News program Monday night in a segment that degenerated into a shouting match. The topic was "hidden agendas" of the left, and more specifically, a recent New York Times editorial that called for a mandatory minimum sentencing for convicted drug traffickers, something O'Reilly clearly abhors.
O’Reilly said the efforts to make medical marijuana legal in states like California are a "ruse" and the initiative always ended up causing social problems, resulting in the inevitable closing of dispensaries. He then blasted the New York Times for taking such an "extreme" position on the issue.
Ham explained her own position on the subject and said it was reasonable to look at the sentencing requirement to make sure law enforcement wasn't overloading the system with people who may not exactly qualify as "drug dealers" and may not belong in jail.
O'Reilly then said he wanted to take it out of the "theoretical realm" by, ironically, asking a theoretical question.
"Your daughter, you know, 19-years-old, dead. Because she takes Oxycontin, ODs and she's dead," he said. " Now, the person who sells her that, what should happen to that person?"
"That person should go to jail," Ham replied. "But just for the record, that was theoretical and what I was talking about was an actual law in Florida."
Ham repeated that the theoretical drug dealer should go to jail if he is found guilty in a court of law but argued a judge should have discretion to decide what kind of sentencing to give. O'Reilly interrupted, saying "I don't want to hear this."
"Here's the problem, when you have a mandatory, sometimes you are catching that girl who is hooked on drugs," Ham added, raising her voice. "So do you want her in jail for four years?"
"Mary Katharine, just stop it," O'Reilly interjected.
The Fox News host once again went back to his daughter analogy and said if it were his daughter who had been sold drugs, he would want a minimum 10-year prison sentence for the drug dealer. He accused Ham of giving drug dealers "a pass."
Watch the entire segment via Mediaite, below. The debate starts heating up at around 4:35.
This story has been updated.