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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Whatever Reed, you didn't call me. You are a punk!

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@Negro Neci- Actually I did call you! Your Sister Shan'tel ' latisha answered. I doubt she could hear me for the damn Rap music and those 9 screaming Nappy Headed kids of hers in the background. I often wondered what 9 little kids screaming " motherfucker" would sound like in unison. Now I wonder no longer. Tell me Neci- why don't your people wait until the drugs wear off until you name your kids- huh? Besides- you know damn well that by the time they are 5 - you will only refer to them as " Bitch- Motherfucker or HO" - I bet your Stinkin ass is Bitter Chocolate for sure.

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@reed, i gave you my phone number and your punk ass never called. So please do me a favor and kiss my chocolate black ass. You are a negro hater lol, and go straight to hell!

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Slap Bill? Not as much as I wish I could slap the hell out of your Ebonics Ass- Neci. You ramble the shit on not making a damn bit of sense! You and T- Jones are a perfect match!

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Some of you all are the most evil, low down, ignorant ass people. Why would you all talk about this lady. Whitney died for no more suffering and pain that other's have caused her. Bill OReilly is a big jerk! Who would take him forreal with anything that come from his mouth? Man, i wish that i could slap the hell out of most of you all...

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I can't believe that I'm agreeing with Bill O'Riely on this issue. I think he made some valid points regarding drug addiction and the way the media oftentimes glorified famous people who are addicts.

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The media is exploiting a cause no one really cares about....the power of the media...they say the audience will care...and ram it down our throats. ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!!!

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So tired of hearing about her! A week ago she was a washed up has béen junkie. Now a halo and wings have formed since she died! Get off it! As for addiction being a disease.....its a chosen disease. You did the crap to begin with and now addicts are supposed to get a free pass cuz they have a "disease"! Disease my ass! An excuse is all it is.

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@ Catalina- Thank you- couldnt of said it better-plus- Bill O. Is right. Call this Celebrites out! This is the price of Fame! Not to mention-?Even if Brown didn't lead her to drugs- if he was any kind of a husband he would have stepped in years ago to help her.

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although i see his point i dnt think weed has nething to do with this. If u look at facts all these celebs are dying from perscription pills. It wud have been nice if he talked about that! The biggest drug dealers in this country are now the insurance companies. And having a real talk about that will prove hard becuz they have their hands in government. So instead of talking about weed he should have been man enuff to take on the big pharma companies.