Bill O'Reilly flunks middle-school math while defending Fox's sleazy hatchet job on the Netherlands

[Video Link] After Fox aired a video calling the Dutch "naive," and the country "out of control," "a cesspool of corruption and crime," "a mess," and "anarchy," a man from the Netherlands named Max Wezendonk made a video response, backing up his counterargument with facts about the Netherlands' low rates of drug use and murder compared to the USA.

Sociological Images says:

By far, the best part occurs at 2:40. Gretchen Carlson mentions that 40% of Americans in the U.S. report having ingested marijuana, compared to 22% of the Dutch. O'Reilly responds with shocking statistical illiteracy (or a willingness to assume the illiteracy of his viewers). Confusing percentages with whole numbers, he says: "The way they do the statistics in the Netherlands is different, plus its a much smaller country, it's a much smaller base to do the stats on."

O'Reilly could be telling the truth, at least about his first claim: "The way they do the statistics in the Netherlands is different." That's correct, if he means "different from the way Fox does statistics."

Fox News vs. the Netherlands

Related: Joan Rivers takes a bong hit.


  1. this just in, stoners are not only having more fun than bill o’reilly, they’re also better at math than him too

  2. Every American I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting whilst visiting the Netherlands (or even permanently settling here) was friendly, intelligent, well spoken and definitely better at statistics. The American media themselves paint a poor picture of Americans.

  3. We got 7 words you can’t say on TV, yet everything Bill0 and those reTARTS spew is far more offensive and damaging.

    Where are the FCC fines for Bullshit?

    1.  Wow, imagine if you could see nipples on TV but these clowns had to pay a million every time they attempted to undermine our democracy with a lie.

      It would be a different country

    2. There used to at least be something sort of close requiring equal time for opposing opinions, so in theory you couldn’t just spout counter-factual bullshit while shutting out all other opinions from your program (which is basically a complete and thorough description of O’Reilly’s show). Sadly that turned out to be a much less workable system in practice despite sounding good on paper and everyone was relieved when the doctrine was repealed.

  4. Well, if it ISN’T a cesspool of crime and corruption and anarchy and free sex then I’m going somewhere else.

    1. Good. I’m born and raised in Amsterdam. If I had lived the lifestyle of some American tourists who are here for a weekend, I would probably be twenty years dead now.

      1. It’s true. Most serious drug problems come from tourists. The Dutch know you shouldn’t mix different drugs, do strong hallucinogenics alone, or fly out of an open window.

  5. Wait Bill O’Reilly might not understand something?  Really?  The man who is possibly most famous for the phrase “tides go in, tides go out, you can’t explain that” as if it were true might not understand basic statistics like “percentages”?


    1. Though that’s way up there, I think his most famous quote is still telling Andrea Mackris that he has a vibrator “shaped like a cock with a little battery in it.”

      Or maybe it’s

      …and then I would take the other hand with the falafel (sic) thing and I’d…

      1. Not all of them. I’d wager the percentage of convicted felons among his fans is considerably higher than the general population.

        (unless you approach those statistics the american way and disregard any unflattering data entirely)

  6. What an asshole.  Idiot asshole.  Not the brightest bulb in the bunch.  Not even talking tulips here. But, hey, if he has kept just one dipshit American tourist home I guess it’s worth it.  too bad O’Reilly”s not more popular in England. /end snark

    On the other hand, Leiden is nice.

    1. Getting upset at him and Fox News is like getting upset at naughty graffiti in the men’s room.

    2. My experience is that Americans who travel tend to better understand that the world’s view of America is not the same as Americans’ view of America.

      1. Agreed, absolutely.  But the dipshit tourist I’m talking about  is the one walking down a street in Amsterdam yelling,  “Woo-HEE, look at ME, I’ve got a doo-BIE.”  Maybe I’m just a crank but they did annoy me when I lived in Amsterdam.

        1. The American tourists aren’t all that bad in comparison to the Brits who come here. They really come here for just one thing: to get drunk, to get stoned, to visit prostitutes, to shout drunkenly in the streets, and to ring my doorbell in the middle of the night, despite the fact that I don’t even live in the center!

          My impression of American tourists is that they tend to be a bit more relaxed and tend to hang out in the Vondelpark, and maybe even visit a museum or something.

          1. Ja, my little group of American soldiers combined the fun. Got high and visited Rijksmuseum and Rembrandthuis, amongst other spots.  Dank U zeer, Amsterdam!

  7. They also use metrics in the Netherlands, so that changes the math too. I’m pretty sure any percentage in metric you have to double and add 25 or something, which would mean that they actually smoke a lot more marijuana there. Or was it multiply by .62? Anyway, point is they smoke more. Why else do we call a joint a “dutchie”?

        1. You guys have just blown my freakin mind.

          (I guess that’s what I deserve for having a “freakin” mind.)

    1.  statistics don’t have any relation to the metric or imperial system. Statistics always are based on a part of 100% , with 100% being the full population, and the percentage from it being the part you point at. That’s why the comment “they do the statistics differently in the Netherlands” makes no sense at all.

    1. I’d say the “free” in “free trade” is more like the “free” in “free-for-all” than the “free” in “free samples”.

      I don’t know what the “free” of “free love” is most like, because I’m not that clear on how the phrase is being used. They seem to be describing informed, safer sex. So I guess that’s free from the costs ignorant, unprotected sex, but they could also mean something like “free form” or “free association”.

  8. It doesn’t really matter what is real. Truthiness is what is real.

    O’Reilly and his ilk don’t really worry about reality, or truth, or consistency. They bluster and rant, and their audience of frustrated lumpenbougiouse  feel a nice warm glow of righteous indignation. That is what Fox News is for.

    If they issued a correction five minutes later, it wouldn’t matter to the world-view of their audience. The five minute gloat and putdown is what matters.

  9. The man is a bloviating moron. A charismatic guy with an enormous ego and a room temperature IQ. The fact that he’s a big deal at Fox news tells me everything I need to know about Fox news.

      1.  I’m not sure he’d be able to hold his head upright if that’s true, but I suppose he could be wearing a brace….

  10. Naivevil: ignorance or guileful fake ignorance.

    “O’Reilly responds with shockingly naivevil statistical illiteracy.”

  11. Will anti-drug advocates start talking about ANYTHING THAT ISN’T MARIJUANA?  I mean, if you were out there talking about coke or heroin, I’d be like “well, those are dangerous substances,” but when you talk about pot, you just sound like total nitwits.

  12. Quick, someone tell him about Portugal! Then we can see his head actually explode!

    That is, if he actually believes a word he’s saying.

    1. That would require Bill O’Reilly to have a head[brain] to start with.

      Ya Portugal is proving people aren’t mindless animals.

  13. Edward Bernays would be so VERY proud of Faux News and Bill O’Reilly, and the rest of the Mainstream Media. As an American, I’m VERY ashamed that E.B. was also an American, but at least he was born somewhere else!

  14. The thing isn’t so much what they are saying – they are always saying BS – as it is why they are saying it and why now. What meme are they planting? What fear are they feeding/creating? For instance, here in Canada there were these stories about the ridiculous demands that traveling Canadians (and would-be Canadians) make of Canadian consulates and high commissions. Stuff like: asking the high commission to get them tickets to Oprah, or flying a helicopter into a prison to get picked-up. I remember thinking this is another one of those government “leaks” / fake stories that are there for a reason. In Canada, this anti-immigrant  government is making it harder and harder for people (especially working-class, politicized people from certain countries, or refugees, etc) to come to Canada. What is another way to make it harder? To close more high commissions and consulates. So guess what? After Christmas, they announced that will are considering closing consulates and high commissions (which is the first step toward closure). 

    So if the right is planting these stories about Holland being a miserable failure, there are a few things in play (imho). One: legalizing drugs is building steam again (which means loss of revenue for many overlapping interests). Two: People are starting to wake up to BS of neo-con rule (can’t have that). Three: People are getting too tolerant of each other again. And the list goes on. The right especially likes it when people  mistrust knowledge, evidence and facts. 

  15. I watched a clip a few days ago where O’Reilly condemns pedophilia, mentioning both the Penn State scandal and the Catholic Church.

    And then he lists several causes of this pattern of behavior, the first ofwhich is…

    wait for it..wait for it…

    Ron Paul wanting to legalize drugs. That is the #1 reason for pedophilia in America.

    You can’t make this stuff up. He is a scumbag extraordinare.

  16. My first thought when watching O’Reilly was, “Dude, are you high?!”.  

    The link to Joan Rivers getting high is beautiful.  The act of linking the two had to have been done while high, and only whilst high can one see that this is the case.

  17. “It’s a much smaller base to do the stats on.”
    O’Reilly is not flunking the maths here. He is applying (disingenuously) a concept that I expect is beyond many people. He is saying that because the Netherlands is a smaller country the uncertainty is greater. This is obviously a completely trivial effect, but he is not so stupid that he thinks only 22.6 Dutch people have smoked marijuana.

    1. Actually, if you poll the same number of people in both countries your statistical uncertainties for the Netherlands are much lower because your sample size is a larger proportion of the data.  It did strike me that his objection was somewhat more apt than the OP lets on, but to the extent that he’s invoking the correct concept he’s drawing the opposite of the correct conclusion.

    2. The uncertainty would only be greater if the sample size of the study was smaller, which does not have to be the case. But even if it was, I don’t think that’s wat Bill meant. I don’t think he has enough knowledge of statistics to know things like that, which is kind of borne out by his preceding statement that we do statistics different in the Netherlands…

      1. I think he’s trying to suggest that the Netherlands is *so* small you couldn’t get a significant sample population even if you surveyed everyone. 

        …Well, okay, in fact I think he was trying to say something that sounded clever and supported his argument, without actually caring if it made sense.  But the first idea is funnier.

    3. The man has a notorious anger problem and easily gets himself into a furor just thinking about something outside of his narrow ethnocentric worldview.

      I sincerely doubt he puts any more logical thought into these kinds of arguments than a raving drunk puts into what he says before hurling a bottle at your face.

      He has threatened to physically assault guests on his show before, and his staff have had to intervene before and escort guests out of the studio before he got backstage with them, because they honestly believed he’d do it and cause a fiasco.

      He is not making arguments out of any kind of adult reason or logic, he’s simply boiling over with incoherent anger and spouting whatever comes to mind without thinking. To attribute any kind of deliberate savvy to these statements is to misunderstand the man completely.

      The things he says are neither smart, nor stupid. They’re just disjointed, discrete outbursts of a severely unhinged temper.

  18. The Netherlands stands for just about everything conservative America (and conservative western society in general) deplores.

    That’s why I’d choose to live in the Netherlands over the USA any day. Don’t worry Max Wezendonk.. besides having the most awesomely bad-ass name I’ve heard in a long time, your country is the clear winner in this competition. Gun crime, religious fanaticism, decaying personal freedoms, backwards drug laws, despicable healthcare system and fox “news” – what a place!

  19. I was in Maastricht a few months ago and after a few days  spotted a single, solitary piece of trash on the ground and that was my first thought – this is anarchy!!

  20. It’s pretty weird to watch such a baseless rant by a basket case if you happen to be Dutch and have lived quite happily in Amsterdam, with its wonderful cultural scene, for some 17 years. And I don’t even do drugs!

  21. You can’t compare the US to Holland. Holland is tiny! But somehow we must ALWAYS compare the US to Colonial America, even though it is not only tiny but over two centuries in the past.

  22. Hilarious in a scary way this might be, I do believe the really scary thing would be statistics (dutch-style statistics please!) on the impact of this show? 

    Oh. And do anyone have a link to the 1951(?) census where 96% of all americans judged themselves to be “above average intelligence”?  

  23. If you want to compare the effects of policies, it’s not a very good idea to compare the US, half the way across the globe, to Holland. Compare Holland to countries closer by instead. Last time I checked, use of marijuana was more than five times higher in Holland compared to Sweden, which more strict laws.

    1.  There are several countries closer to the Netherlands than Sweden. The former comes in around the middle of cannabis usage for Europe. E.g. see or other info on that site. If you cross-referenced usage with law enforcement across European countries I doubt you’d see much correlation.

    2. Things like this depend on so many cultural, political and geographical factors that comparing any two countries in such a simplistic way is not a good idea, and tells you very little about the effects of policies.

      France and the United Kingdom also have very strict laws, they are much closer to the Netherlands than Sweden, and they have almost twice as high a prevalence of marijuana usage. Picking Sweden (which is further away than either of them) as an example seems like cherry picking worthy of Fox News.

      Just as a further example of how worthless such simplistic comparisons are: while the prevalence of drug use may be higher in the Netherlands than in Sweden, the number of drug related deaths per capita is two and a half times higher in Sweden!

      1. What, cherry-picked comparisons aren’t as valid as real comparisons?

        Nice try edgar.

  24. As a Dutch person I love the fact that Fox is scared of us. Yes, it is all true. Infact, i’ll go one further; we are secretly creating an army of genetic monsters, fueled by abortions and funded by drug money specificly to atack Fox news!
    We are comming for you Bill! Be afraid, be very afraid!! ;-)
    disclaimer: incase it wasn’t clear, that was sarcasm.

    1. Although I have visited the area a few times, I did miss out on a lot of great spots. Many years ago, an at the time Univerisity of Chicago Economics major friend of mine told me the tale of an section in Denmark called Freetown Christiania. He approached it in a socio-enconomic fashion, describing it as a wonderous harmony between local residents, anarchist squatters, lazy police and eager cannabis merchants all residing in a tiny community that resulted in a picture perfect flourishing secondary drug market that made everyone happy, even law enforcement.

      Basically Christiania is an open drug bazaar, he described it as having “stands” akin to a midwest farmers market. The premise in terms of law enforcement was that as long as you are selling and buying in that exact location, you were fine, if you pushed your product outside of the area late at night on a street corner you were asking for it, but as long as you had a tent pitched on Sunday among the other sellers, you were good to go. What ended up happening is that a self-governed pot micro-economy was born out of the freedom to trade your pot wares without fear of harassment and as my friend went on to summarize in one scene, included elderly men pulling up on their bicycles, purchasing their pot and making way for home with baguettes in their baskets.

      Sub-sequentially drug related Crimes went down, product quality went up, prices stabilized, robberies became non-existent, unscrupulous denizens were pushed out and police turned a cheek as they has little to do. The way he put it was basically an admission that, if structured in the hands of actual people and not politicians or police chiefs, there was the possibility for a community to self govern the sales of drugs.

      I heard this tale a loooong time ago, but I still think about it once in a while. What if Americans themselves regulated the sale of Cannabis in their own communities? Living in one of the most media-savy crime areas of Chicago, where every spring we make the headlines from drug related gang warfare, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we had our own Freetown Christiania.

    2. You forgot to mention that these genetic monsters are gay, pacifist, Muslim NPR supporters.

      Conservatives: Run for your lives!

  25. I grew up in Germany close to the dutch boarder. And yes, quite a lot of people were going to the Netherlands to get drugs. I don’t smoke myself, but many of my friends wen’t all the time. And so did their friends.
    Then I moved to the Netherlands to study composition and music production (they have a MUCH MORE ADVANCED system than in Germany!).
    I only had contact with “native” dutsch students – and out of all the people I  lived and worked with only one (1!) person regularly smoked grass.
    And yes, we’re talking about musicians.

  26. O’Reilly and his fellow countrymen should have a look at “New Kids” – a series of documentary reports about the mess that is the Netherlands.

    1. That’s almost too good not to do. Just recut some clips from the show, throw an english narrator over it to talk about it and boom, instant flamebait! 

    2. you know i think that might be his primary research right there….that was a documentary…wasnt it?

  27. Ultimately the issue isn’t really whether more people use more drugs.

    It’s whether making something criminal is a useful means by which to protect the population and whether the government should protect the population by such measures.

    By determining that drug use which negatively affects ones skill or capacity should be illegal in some places (eg. driving a motor vehicle, operating heavy machinery) but not in others (your own home, licensed premises), one reduces criminal activity and corruption. You also make it a health issue so that people are more likely to seek help when it impairs their life and/or social relationships.

    If more people used heroin it would only be a problem were it to negatively affect their health, social relationships and work life. The same for any drug.  Increasing health costs would need to be absolutely massive to match the costs to the community created by the ‘war on drugs’  and other related police, court, gaol and criminal activity.

  28. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting A’dam twice and it is hands-down my favorite city in Europe. I love the museums, the cycling, the flowers, the canals and the fact that I can walk _everywhere_. Also the Dutch people are the best. (sorry, not trying to slam other Europeans, just saying I like the way I interact with these folk.)

  29. Amsterdam is a great city and full of history.     For a time it used to be THE center of commerce.

    Just a few great things about Amsterdam:

    It’s entirely walkable – you don’t even need public transportation.
    The architecture is awesome,  the glass in some buildings have been altered over years and years.   You look in amazement that it can change its shape over time.
    An incredible food market (can’t recall the exact street).
    Outstanding restaurants.
    Some of the best chocolate.
    People are so friendly and helpful.
    The canals.
    Great museums.  
    Flower market.

    Definitely a great destination if traveling to Europe.

  30. I question the logic of even mentioning Fox news’ biased and pathologically inaccurate neo-Con narratives on boingboing.  It is a never ending partisan fountain of half-truths and outright falsehoods.  The only time it should be “newsworthy” on this site is when a truly monumental and/or hilarious stupidity erupts, like the “tide goes in, tide goes out– explain that” interchange between O’Reillly and Dawkins.

  31. fox news or the netherlands i do not know who will win,im my left you have a country whos ultra capitalism alow to make money with all what it can(this include weapon and drugs),a bit like the US in my right but without Fox,Jan de mol beeing the treshhold ,i laught everytime people see the netherlands als the summum of freedom,lol, it is surely capitalism freedom,but more than that it is not,and i should know it, i live there,funny tho how we look to other countries with cliches,fox is ok it just a part of the illusion, like the netherlands are ,and the queen and etc…etc…

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