Bill O’Reilly is the next to fall

In an interview with an eye-witness reporter during the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombings, Bill O’Reilly recollects his experience reporting on the Falklands War in 1982. He explains that in one instance there was so much violence that he had to come to the aid of a cameraman.

Just weeks after NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams was attacked for his embellishment and mischaracterization of his ‘war-zone’ reporting experience during the Iraq War in 2003, another prominent national news anchor, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, has been targeted for his misleading and false account of the Falklands War in 1982. O’Reilly, who was quick to condemn Williams earlier this month, had this to say about the lack of veracity demonstrated by the NBC Nightly News host:

As educated viewers, you guys know that the founding fathers gave the press special privileges. They did that so reporters could keep an eye on powerful politicians and others who might cause harm to the folks…But when hard news people deceive their viewers and readers to advance a political agenda, that’s when the nation gets hurt. And to Brian Williams, the anchorman for the NBC nightly news every day about nine million people watched him report the events of the day. Mr. Williams was successful, beating out ABC and CBS news. But now we know that Brian Williams exaggerated certain stories and so NBC had to suspend him for six months.

The hypocrisy exhibited by O’Reilly prompted a swift reaction from several of his former colleagues at CBS News. The story first broke when a former colleague of O’Reilly, David Corn, who reported alongside him for CBS News in Buenos Aires during the conflict in 1982, co-authored a Mother Jones opinion article accusing O’Reilly of hyperbolizing the intensity of the violence. In the article, which was published last Thursday, Corn claims that:

O’Reilly has repeatedly told his audience that he was a war correspondent during the Falklands war and that he experienced combat during that 1982 conflict between the United Kingdom and Argentina…Yet his own account of his time in Argentina in his 2001 book, The No Spin Zone, contains no references to O’Reilly experiencing or covering any combat during the Falklands war…There is nothing in this memoir indicating that O’Reilly witnessed the fighting between British and Argentine military forces—or that he got anywhere close to the Falkland Islands, which are 300 miles off Argentina’s shore and about 1,200 miles south of Buenos Aires.

Other former CBS reporters that were on the ground in Buenos Aires in 1982 have responded to the recent allegations by informing us about the political climate and level of security during the conflict. Eric Jon Engberg, who served as a CBS News correspondent for 27 years, posted an extensive rant on Facebook the day after Mother Jones published the piece by Cook that strongly validated his claims and criticized O’Reilly for his erroneous recollections of the conflict. In his post Engberg writes:
O’Reilly, freshly hired by CBS, arrived in Buenos Aires a few days before the British expeditionary force defeated the Argentine occupiers. He was, as he is today, full of brio and confidence…The Argentine public, who had been living under a murderous, corrupt military government for years, were driven into the streets of their capital by rage over the loss of a war they had been repeatedly told their army was winning. As night fell after the surrender statement, several thousand people gathered in the streets around the presidential palace to protest. All the members of the CBS reporting staff and all the two-person camera crews we had in Buenos Aires were sent in to the street. I believe there were four or five crews. The reporters, as I remember, were O’Reilly, Chuck Gomez, Charles Krause, Bob Schieffer and myself. Somewhere it has been reported that O’Reilly has claimed he was the only CBS News reporter who had the courage to go into the street because the rest of us were hiding in our hotel. If he said such thing it is an absolute lie. Everyone was working in the street that night, the crews exhibiting their usual courage…The riot around the presidential palace was actually short-lived. It consisted mostly of chanting, fist-shaking and throwing coins at the uniformed soldiers who were assembled outside the palace. I did not see any police attacks against demonstrators.
To be clear, Buenos Aires was not a ‘war-zone’ in 1982. Any fighting that occurred happened over a thousand miles from the CBS Bureau in Buenos Aires. “Nobody from CBS got to the Falklands,” says Bob Schieffer. “For us, you were a thousand miles from where the fighting was. So we had some great meals.” Therefore, if Bill O’Reilly wants to make the false claim that he was a correspondent in the ‘war-zone’ that was Buenos Aires in 1982, we must begin to question and critic him going forward. He can’t just ignorantly and carelessly throw around the title of ‘war-correspondent’ as a way to boost his journalistic credentials.
Ridiculous. This guy needs to be punished.