Interviews

Mothers outraged over anti-obesity campaign

'Culture Warriors' examine a controversial campaign ad against childhood obesity that has upset a group of mom bloggers

 

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 9, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Culture Warrior Segment" tonight, as you know First Lady Michelle Obama on a campaign to fight childhood obesity in America. 70 percent of American children are now are obese and 36 percent -- 36 percent of all Americans are in that category. But some mothers are angry about the anti-obesity campaign.

Here now the warriors, Gretchen Carlson and Margaret Hoover. So why are they angry? Why are some of the moms angry?

MARGARET HOOVER, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Well, what's going on here is in Georgia 40 percent of the kids are obese; 75 percent of the kids who are obese have parents don't even recognize that they are obese. So this is actually a medical epidemic --

O'REILLY: Who did that survey? Where did that come from?

HOOVER: The Children's Health Center of Atlanta did the survey. And what they found is that it costs $2.4 billion of state money a year to treat what happens is these kids get type 2 diabetes.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Sure, and that's across the country.

HOOVER: And so this non-profit organization created these ads to educate the populace in Atlanta.

O'REILLY: About the child obesity -- the child obesity thing. All right. Let's roll the tape on one of the ads. Go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mom, why am I fat?

GRAPHIC: 75 percent of Georgia Parents with overweight kids don't recognize the problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: That's pretty strong, Carlson, is it not?

GRETCHEN CARLSON, CO-HOST, "FOX & FRIENDS": All right. So some of these mom bloggers say look we should feel sorry for kids who are fat.

O'REILLY: And I agree with that.

CARLSON: And this is will -- and this will further stigmatize them.

Ok, let me speak about this personally. I was a chubby kid. So I can say about what I'm going to say right now which is thank God they are doing an ad like that. We've got --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: How chubby were you?

CARLSON: I was a chubby kid. I struggled with my weight every single day. And you know how I keep myself somewhat fit? Personal responsibility.

That's what this is about. This is a life threatening issue for our kids. They are getting fatter and fatter. And it's -- we're more accepting.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: All right, so you think -- that kind of an ad which does though demean the child a little bit because the mom sitting with the child is heavy.

CARLSON: It does but they've got to get the attention of the American public.

O'REILLY: And you think it's worth it because it gets her attention. And you say?

HOOVER: Well, what these campaign did, these moms got together and they created 23 million impressions on Twitter. It's a -- it's a -- I'm going teach you something about Twitter Bill, there is a thing called a "hash tag" and then it said "ashamed". This propagated throughout the Twitter verse for an entire month, 23 million people saw that.

They were saying, their message is that what you're doing is you're shaming kids and that is not a motivator for becoming skinny.

CARLSON: What about the parents though? What about the parents? We live in a society --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: You know look, we have freedom -- we have freedoms in this country. And as you said some people put on weight easier than other people. Some people are lazy or some people just want to be fat. They want to eat. They like food. We don't have a right to intrude on that unless it intrudes on us and it does in the health care industry; and unfortunately with children they get bullied and everything like that.

All right, I'm going to let the audience make up their mind on this. It's very complicated, very emotional.

Now, a 9-year-old boy, a Catholic school boy, right? Right, he's in a talent contest. Where is this? I should know --

CARLSON: This is Wynona, Minnesota.

O'REILLY: All right.

CARLSON: This is my neck of the woods.

O'REILLY: That's right, that's where Carlson was eating as a child.

CARLSON: Lots -- lots of donuts.

O'REILLY: Ok there is the kid, do we have natural sound on this? I forget. Do we have natural sound on this? No, ok.

CARLSON: No.

O'REILLY: So the kid is doing a Michael Jackson thing in -- in the talent contest, ok? And this is taken by somebody obviously in the contest. So we don't hear the music. But the kid apes Jackson by grabbing his pants ok because that's what Jackson does is grabs his pants. So he does the whole routine and everybody is watching it and then after the routine, the kid is suspended from school.

CARLSON: The principal goes up to the mother and to the son and says that that was gross misconduct and you will be indefinitely suspended. This was a Catholic fundraising event. Apparently this routine he had done it several times before. It had been screened by teachers. The only thing that they were looking out for in these routines was language that would not be appropriate.

The mom was horrified at this indefinite suspension. She had a meeting with the principal and now --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: He's 9 years old, this kid's what, third grade?

CARLSON: He's 9 years old, and he ended up having one day suspension he's now back in school. The principal ended up apologizing to him for that.

HOOVER: And the thing that was so sad about the kid had performed this before. He had worked really hard on this routine, he gets up the stage, the teacher is so -- and by the way you saw him dancing there.

O'REILLY: Right.

HOOVER: He is a good dancer. There were two gesture that the principal didn't like. Yells at him, and as soon as he gets off stage suspends him. Doesn't even talk to the parents first. This 9-year-old boy had just gotten up in front of all his peers, his teachers, his friends, his community to perform and he's a pretty good dancer by the way.

O'REILLY: Now you know remember in the first segment when Carlson said because she was a chubby kid she could speak to this very emotionally. Because I went to Catholic school and was suspended half my life I can speak to this emotionally. All right?

CARLSON: Well, let's hear it.

O'REILLY: Now, this kid, what he did, he didn't even know what he was doing. All right? That's number one. So intent, intent, you know in the Catholic Church you can't commit a sin unless you intend to commit it, all right? You have to have intent, you have to know what's a sin and then commit it.

All right, number two, grabbing the pants wasn't the wisest thing in the world. Now, I don't know what the teachers knew and what they didn't know so I can't say that but I -- I think it was an overreaction to suspend the kid. I would have pulled the kid aside and said if you touch your pants again I'm going to hang you by your ankles. That's the way they used to do in Catholic school. I don't know if they're allowed to do that anymore.

Ok, and here's why you can't do it because it's not sending the right message to your peers. But I've got to tell you, compared to what I did --

CARLSON: That's nothing?

O'REILLY: This kid should have got a little medal. What I did at that school, I'll tell you the story some day when we have a little more time. It should be an hour special. But --

HOOVER: It sounds like high rating.

O'REILLY: -- on the Immaculate Conception there was a crowning of the Virgin Mary but the girl who did it who I didn't like had to go up a ladder. All of a sudden that ladder disappeared.

HOOVER: That's intent.

O'REILLY: I didn't do it.

HOOVER: That's intent.

O'REILLY: I had no -- no clue. All right.

So number one, the obesity thing personal but let's all try to get the kids thinner. Number two, the kid should not have been suspended, correct?

HOOVER: Correct.

CARLSON: Correct.

O'REILLY: The Culture Warriors everybody.

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