Bill O’Reilly is blaming Beyoncé for teen pregnancy again, even though last time he did this, much of the press eagerly reminded him that Beyoncé is, you know, famously married. Now that the pop singer has appeared on the cover of Time’s “100 Most Influential People” issue, O’Reilly is bent out of shape over the fact that Beyoncé is making sex look like fun, which he fears will give young women, especially young black women, ideas. (Prior to “Drunk in Love,” we are apparently meant to believe, most teenagers were blissfully unaware you could ever have fun with your pants off.)
“She knows — this woman knows — that young girls are getting pregnant in the African-American community,” O’Reilly complained on his Friday show. “Now it’s about 70 percent out of wedlock. She knows and doesn’t seem to care.”
The complaint is a head-scratcher, since the songs that O’Reilly calls out in a video montage (let’s hope no teens watch his show!) are about the joys of having sex within a marriage. The video for “Drunk in Love” actually shows Beyoncé in sexual situations with her longtime husband, Jay Z. If anything, Beyoncé’s record should be read as an ode to marriage and holding out on starting a family until you have a partner who can make you happy in the long haul.
O’Reilly’s guest, Penny Nance from Concerned Women for America, does not agree, suggesting Beyoncé doesn’t talk up her marriage enough. “She has a great marriage, apparently,” she said. “I wish she would really talk to kids in that community about marriage and about getting married first and then having a kid, like she did.” You know, just in case there’s anyone under the age of 25 in this country who is unaware of the Beyoncé/Jay Z union. (Of course, Nance also thinks the name of the song is “Drunk Love,” so she might not be totally up on the cultural products she’s criticizing.)
O’Reilly’s other guest, Eboni Williams, tried to argue with him, pointing out that teen pregnancy is actually declining. (It’s at a historic low for all teenagers and has fallen by 51 percent for black teenagers in the past two decades.) It was a good effort, but she kept getting drowned out by the think-of-the-children posturing about music that “children absorb” and is “libertine in tone.” It was a breathtakingly cynical segment, even by O’Reilly’s already low standards.
So why would O’Reilly single out a famously married mother for somehow encouraging pregnancy out of wedlock? I’m not in the man’s heart, but my guess is that it’s because Beyoncé is famous enough that the aging Fox News demographic has heard of her, she’s black, and she’s sexy. That combo is so enticing in its button-pushing possibilities that O’Reilly just can’t resist blaming her for all manner of social ills, no matter how ridiculous it sounds to anyone who has actually purchased a new record in the past 25 years.
Here’s the whole segment: