Matt Lauer vs. Bill O'Reilly: Did the Media Exploit Whitney Houston?

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On The Today Show this morning, Matt Lauer and Bill O'Reilly engaged in a fascinating debate.

It stemmed from the latter's belief that Whitney Houston had a death wish, that nobody abuses drugs or alcohol in such a way "if they want to stay on the planet."

Lauer countered this point by saying "addiction is a disease," but O'Reilly shot back:

"It's a mental disease. You have free will when it comes to addiction. You don't have free will when it comes to lung cancer."

The main topic of the discourse, though, centered on the media's handling of Whitney's long struggle with substance abuse, with O'Reilly labeling all reports over the years as "sensationalized to exploit the woman's condition, not try to help her.

"You know what we in the media do, Lauer?" he asked. "We wink-wink it. We Snoop Dogg it. We Willie Nelson it. 'Hey, oh yeah, they're stoned, that's fine.'"

Is O'Reilly in favor of lowering flags in New Jersey Saturday in honor of Houston's funeral? Yes, he believes we should respect the singer's life. But he also believes journalists should have done the same for her before she died by taking a harsher stance on her drug problem.

Listen to the audio above and take a side.

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