Bill O’Reilly is a serial liar, according to one of his former colleagues at Fox News Channel.
OK, that doesn’t surprise a lot of folks. What’s a bit surprising to me is that the allegation of lying comes from Eric Burns, who was a host of “Fox News Watch” for a decade until 2008, when the network let him go.
I’m not sure if Burns is spitting out some sour grapes here, but he did tell CNN’s Brian Stelter that O’Reilly long has been known to embellish his credentials, if not lie outright about what he reported on.
The clip attached to this link is about 8 minutes long. It’s a highly interesting critique on O’Reilly’s time at Fox and whether his bosses and colleagues at the network expect much from him. Burns said no, they don’t.
Why is this such a big deal? Well, maybe it’s not huge. But in the media world, O’Reilly has become cable the biggest star on cable “news,” although I use the term “news” guardedly where it involves O’Reilly or, for that matter, Fox News in general.
About the time Brian Williams got suspended by NBC for fibbing, er, lying, about being shot down in Iraq, O’Reilly came under criticism for his reporting from the Falklands War “front” in 1982 when, in reality, he never set foot on the island territory when British forces landed to take it back from Argentine forces.
Williams got suspended — and likely won’t get his news anchor job back — while O’Reilly’s ratings have soared, as Burns told Stelter on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
That seems to be the aim at Fox: ratings. Burns said the network is giving O’Reilly a pass because the more he comes under fire, the more his rating soar. Burns suggested to Stelter that’s a likely consequence of the audience that tunes in to Fox. He calls Fox News watchers “cultish.” Watch the clip and listen for yourself to what he says.
It’s interesting that in all the discussion, I didn’t hear a mention of what now-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has called O’Reilly over the years. Back when he was a mere political humorist, Franken would refer the Fox News host as “O’Lie-ly,” which enraged O’Reilly so much that to this day he refers to Franken by his former “Saturday Night Live” character, Stuart Smalley.
Whatever the case, the interview with Eric Burns is worth your time.
Well, at least was worth my time.