Out for blood
Knocking off a seminal left-leaning media figure was bound to incur backlash. And so it seems we have our response; Mother Jones is out to off Bill O’Reilly.
Late this afternoon, David Corn and Daniel Schulman of Mother Jones released a report suggesting Bill O’Reilly has a, “Brian Williams Problem.” They then accuse O’Reilly of saying, “he was in a “war zone” that apparently no American correspondent reached.”
The intrepid reporting duo began their damning tale by explaining (in a roundabout way, anyway) why they targeted O’Reilly:
After NBC News suspended anchor Brian Williams for erroneously claiming that he was nearly shot down in a helicopter while covering the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly went on a tear. On his television show, the top-rated cable news anchor declared that the American press isn’t “half as responsible as the men who forged the nation.” He bemoaned the supposed culture of deception within the liberal media, and he proclaimed that the Williams controversy should prompt questioning of other “distortions” by left-leaning outlets. Yet for years, O’Reilly has recounted dramatic stories about his own war reporting that don’t withstand scrutiny—even claiming he acted heroically in a war zone that he apparently never set foot in.
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 England and Argentina. He has often invoked this experience to emphasize that he understands war as only someone who has witnessed it could. As he once put it, “I’ve been there. That’s really what separates me from most of these other bloviators. I bloviate, but I bloviate about stuff I’ve seen. They bloviate about stuff that they haven’t.”
Of course they neglect the various other discrepancies between Brian Williams’ claims and reality. Then they go on to make their case.
Their ‘scoop’ seems to revolve around how Mother Jones is defining, “war action” and other semantics they themselves haven’t yet pieced together. Namely that to cover The Falklands War and reporting directly from The Falklands are not mutually exclusive.
But back to the Mother Jones claim that the circumstance O’Reilly references, which occurred in 1982, do not constitute “war action”:
The protest in Buenos Aires was not combat. Nor was it part of the Falklands war. It happened more than a thousand miles from the war—after the fighting was over. Yet O’Reilly has referred to his work in Argentina—and his rescue of his cameraman—as occurring in a “war zone.” And he once told a viewer who caught his show in Argentina, “Tell everybody down there I covered the Falklands war. They’ll remember.”
O’Reilly called David Corn a “despicable guttersnipe” and “a liar.” He denies any discrepancy, calling the entire Mother Jones piece “a piece of garbage.”
Dylan Byers of Politico has O’Reilly’s response:
“It’s a hit piece,” O’Reilly said. “Everything I said about what I reported in South and Central America is true. Everything.”
The report, published late Thursday, alleges that O’Reilly repeatedly misled viewers by claiming to have been in a war zone during the conflict between England and Argentina in 1982. In his book, in public appearances and on his television program, O’Reilly has claimed to have been “in an active war zone” in the Falklands, despite the fact that no American correspondents are believed to have reached the combat zones on the islands.
In the interview, O’Reilly said that he never claimed to have been on the Falkland Islands.
“I was not on the Falkland Islands and I never said I was. I was in Buenos Aires… In Buenos Aires we were in a combat situation after the Argentines surrendered.”
As he writes in The No Spin Zone, O’Reilly was in Buenos Aires when thousands of Argentines took to the streets to protest the military junta for surrendering to the Brits. O’Reilly says that the Army shot into the crowd. (Corn and his colleague Daniel Schulman say this was not war action.)
“It was clear that I did not say I was in the Falkland Islands. I’ve done myriad interviews over the years and I never said that,” O’Reilly told On Media.
Follow Kemberlee Kaye on TwitterDONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.