Despite "excellent question" from a "kid[]," O'Reilly did not acknowledge falsehood in his book

››› ››› ANDREW IRONSIDE

On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly was challenged by one of the "kids" who reportedly sent him mail "over the holiday," who asked him: "[I]n the first sentence of Chapter Three [in Kids Are Americans Too] you say the Constitution guarantees 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' Isn't that from the Declaration of Independence?" While O'Reilly praised the writer for asking an "excellent question," he did not acknowledge the false suggestion in his book that the phrase appears in the Constitution.

During the January 2 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly read a letter challenging his suggestion in his recent book, Kids Are Americans Too, that the phrase "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is written in the U.S. Constitution. In the letter, which O'Reilly said was from one of the "kids" who sent him mail "over the holiday," the writer, identified on-screen as Courtney Yong from San Francisco, asked: "Mr. O'Reilly, I really enjoyed 'Kids Are Americans Too' but in the first sentence of Chapter Three you say the Constitution guarantees 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' Isn't that from the Declaration of Independence?" O'Reilly did not acknowledge that his book makes the false suggestion that the phrase appears in the Constitution. Instead, he said: "Another excellent question, Courtney. The reason the Constitution was forged was to assure new American citizens the right to free life and access to pursue happiness in his or her own way. The Declaration was the statement; the Constitution, the instrument."

At the beginning of Chapter 3 in Kids Are Americans Too, O'Reilly wrote:

For openers, the Constitution guarantees all of us, in a famous phrase, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Fair enough. Who could argue with that? I want to live, and I bet you do, too. I want to be free; so do you. We both want to "pursue happiness" ... (Page 15)

In fact, as the letter writer noted, the "famous phrase" is found in the Declaration of Independence, which states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." By contrast, while the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments say that the federal government and the states respectively shall not deprive any person "of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law," the Constitution does not contain the phrase "pursuit of happiness."

From the January 2 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: And finally tonight, the mail -- plenty of letters from kids over the holiday; lots of questions about Kids Are Americans Too, which turned out to be a very hot Christmas gift this season.

[...]

O'REILLY: Courtney Yong, San Francisco: "Mr. O'Reilly, I really enjoyed 'Kids Are Americans Too' but in the first sentence of Chapter Three you say the Constitution guarantees 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' Isn't that from the Declaration of Independence?"

Another excellent question, Courtney. The reason the Constitution was forged was to assure new American citizens the right to free life and access to pursue happiness in his or her own way. The Declaration was the statement; the Constitution, the instrument.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The O'Reilly Factor
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine
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