Tag Archives: Falklands War

More ‘lies’ from O’Reilly

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.

Williams, O'Reilly: double standard?

The thought occurs to me on this rainy day on the Texas Tundra: Brian Williams is likely out of a job, while Bill O’Reilly is still going strong for doing essentially the same thing that got Williams into trouble.

How come?

Williams once was the much-admired anchor for NBC’s Nightly News broadcast. Then it came out that Williams fibbed about a story he had told over a decade that a helicopter he’d been riding in had been shot down during the Iraq War. His chopper wasn’t shot down, but he was riding in the same group of air ships that included the one hit by the rocket-propelled grenade. NBC investigated the matter and suspended Williams for six months — without pay. He has become the butt of jokes and the network is highly unlikely ever to return him to his former job.

O’Reilly, meanwhile, was revealed to have embellished his own record, talking about how he “covered” the Falklands War in 1982 while never setting foot in the war zone while Argentine troops were fighting British troops that had landed on the islands to take back Britain’s territorial possession. O’Reilly who “covered” the war for CBS News, has since become Fox News’s No. 1 commentator. He reported how he had been put in harm’s way in the Falklands. Except that he wasn’t ever exposed to hostile fire. It was revealed the potential harm came from rioters in Buenos Aires, from where O’Reilly was “covering” the war.

Fox stands by its man. O’Reilly called the reporting of his embellishment the work of “guttersnipes.”

One man gets kicked off the air. The other is still goin’ and blowin’.

O’Reilly often laments what he calls “double standards” in media reporting.

He’s right. There well might be a double standard at work here.


O'Reilly sees the light on name-calling?

Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly had an eye-opening commentary Wednesday night in which he said Republicans should avoid name-calling and “smearing” of Democrats, namely President Obama and the woman who wants to succeed him, Hillary Rodham Clinton.


I don’t know what to make of this.

O’Reilly said this, according to Politico: “But any Republican candidate who says personal things about either the president or Mrs. Clinton will be making a tremendous mistake,” he added. Most Americans don’t like that line of attack, he said. “Once in a while, a takedown is necessary, but to make a living out of guttersniping” would be a “ticket to defeat,” he commented. “Smearing anyone should be unacceptable.”

So, let’s backtrack a few days. Mother Jones published a scathing report questioning O’Reilly’s coverage of the Falklands War in 1982. O’Reilly went immediately on the attack. What did he call David Corn, a co-writer of the lengthy essay? Why, an “irresponsible guttersnipe,” of course.

O’Reilly is correct to caution Republicans about the personal attacks. The Politico link attached to this post details some of the points he made on his “O’Reilly Factor” talk show.

However, whenever anyone gets under his skin and riles the fellow, O’Reilly is pretty quick to pull the hair-trigger on those who disagree with him.

Still, let’s hope he follows his own advice. Then again, his visible and vocal righteous anger is a big part of what draws his audience to his show.

O'Reilly questions keep mounting

History might be repeating itself. First there’s an allegation of fibbing. Then it’s followed by more allegations. More witnesses come forward. More questions get asked.

That’s the way it often goes when controversy starts boiling over.

Bill O’Reilly’s troubles aren’t going away, any more than Brian Williams’ troubles aren’t going away.


The Fox News talk show host now is being questioned about whether he witnessed the murder of nuns in El Salvador, which he says he saw. This comes after questions arose about whether he heard the shotgun blast when someone connected to President Kennedy’s assassination killed himself. It comes after questions surfaced in a lengthy Mother Jones article about whether O’Reilly ever was in serious danger while “covering” the Falklands War from Buenos Aires.

This stuff happens. It’s not unique to O’Reilly. Brian Williams went through it. Others have endured similar revelations. Remember the John Edwards story and how the one-time Democratic vice-presidential nominee denied the affair with Rielle Hunter? How about when President Nixon denied any wrongdoing in the Watergate scandal? Then came those tape recordings and the testimony from those who said, “Yep, he told the FBI to stop investigating the break-in at the Democratic Party office.”

Is any of this going to spell the end of O’Reilly at Fox News? Time will tell.

Meantime, the bombastic talk show host had better get ready for more nasty revelations.


O'Reilly getting a taste of his own brew

The Bill O’Reilly story isn’t going away any time soon.

It might not ever disappear. Why is that? Well, look at it as payback from other media organizations that have been on the receiving end of O’Reilly’s sanctimony over many years.


The left-leaning media watchdog groups around the country are taking a serious look at the allegations of embellishment and falsification that have piled up around O’Reilly. The Falklands War story still is resonating in some circles. O’Reilly has implied that he was in serious danger while covering the 1982 Falklands War between Great Britain and Argentina. He didn’t show up on the battlefield, but was in Buenos Aires covering riots and other disturbances during the Falklands conflict.

Was he in the danger he says he was? His former CBS colleagues dispute it.

Now comes another allegation of falsehood, that he was present during the suicide of a principal in the John F. Kennedy assassination. That, too, has come under challenge.

This story will have legs for some time for one simple reason: Bill O’Reilly has made considerable hay over the years criticizing other media outlets and reporters for their own transgressions. He’s held himself and his employer, Fox News, as the twin paragons of virtue and truth-telling. The “No Spin Zone,” which he calls his Fox TV show, has every bit as much “spin” as any other TV news talk show. O’Reilly just chooses to “spin” his stories his way.

Another reality, though, is that O’Reilly isn’t getting any more of a media vetting than Brian Williams got when it was revealed that he really wasn’t shot down in Iraq in 2003 as he has suggested. Nor is he being hammered any harder than former CBS News anchor Dan Rather was when he reported erroneously about President George W. Bush’s Air National Guard duty in the 1970s.

However, O’Reilly’s penchant for sticking it to other media means this story will continue for a good while longer.

This kind of scrutiny goes with the territory. O’Reilly knows it better than most.


'Kill zone' just a figure of speech?

Bill O’Reilly needs to settle down.

Mother Jones has written a scathing piece alleging that the Fox News talk show star fibbed about his coverage of the Falklands War in 1982 while he was working for CBS News.

O’Reilly has lashed out — savagely — against Mother Jones and one of the co-writers of the piece, David Corn. He said Corn will end up in the “kill zone. Where he deserves to be.”


Corn took the “kill zone” remark badly. Mother Jones editors have demanded an apology. They won’t get one. O’Reilly called it a “figure of speech.”

Oh, that Bill. He’s such a kidder.

I’m still waiting for O’Reilly to prove he actually prowled the battlefield in the Falklands while covering the brief conflict between Great Britain and Argentina. He hasn’t done that. Instead, O’Reilly has lashed out with a barrage of pejorative terms to describe Corn, Mother Jones and — as is his modus operandi — all those on the “loony left” who have criticized his work over many years.

Let’s get to the issue at hand, Bill: Were you on the battlefield — or not?

O'Reilly, Williams put media under the scope

Yes, there’s actually a lot of good that can come from the controversies surrounding two prominent broadcast journalists.

It is that the media — both print and broadcast — have been put on high alert to be sure they’re telling the truth and leave no doubt to their readers, viewers and listeners.

The world is watching. Carefully.


* Brian Williams of NBC News has suspended without pay for six months. His transgression? “Misremembering,” which is what he calls it, an event in which he reported being shot down by a rocket in Iraq in 2003. It didn’t happen that way, despite Williams’s telling of the tale. His credibility is in tatters and likely is damaged beyond repair.

* Now comes a blistering report that Fox News host Bill O’Reilly allegedly misrepresented his reporting from the 1982 Falklands War fought between Britain and Argentina. O’Reilly has said repeatedly he reported from the remote island battlefields. Mother Jones magazine has challenged O’Reilly’s assertion, to which O’Reilly — as is his style — responded by calling the writer David Corn a “guttersnipe” and a liar. A former colleague at CBS, where O’Reilly was working at the time, also has challenged Bill O’s account of where he was during that brief war. This one isn’t over.

Throughout all of this has been an interesting analysis of how the media do their job.

The U.S. Constitution protects the media from government interference, so there cannot be a government policing arm established to ensure the media tell the truth. That has to come from within the industry. And within all broadcast and cable news networks, as well as all print organizations, there must be some serious in-house discussions taking place to ensure that everyone who reports the news does so with impeccably.

There can be no doubt about the truth of what’s being reported.

The good that comes from all this tempest and tumult must be that journalists of all stripes are put on notice that the world is watching them with keen eyes and is tuning in with ears that hear everything.


Williams is unlikely to return to his anchor desk at NBC. As for O’Reilly and his career at Fox, well, stay tuned for that one. O’Reilly is always — always! — ready to unload against his accusers. He’ll just have to answer one question: Can you prove you were in the middle of the fight? If so, then let’s see the proof.


'Bloviator' O'Reilly's war coverage challenged

Bill O’Reilly’s brand on TV news is one of confrontation and — some would suggest — self-serving excess.

OK, I’ll suggest it, too. O’Reilly is full of himself at times.

He’s been all over the Brian Williams story and the now-admitted “misremembering” about the NBC News anchor being shot down in Iraq in 2003.

Well, the self-proclaimed bloviator is now facing a challenge of his own, from Mother Jones magazine, over whether O’Reilly actually witnessed combat during the brief war in the remote Falkland Islands in 1982, when Great Britain sent a flotilla to its territorial possession to rid the place of Argentine troops who had taken the island illegally.

“I was there,” O’Reilly has contended all along. Mother Jones disputes O’Reilly’s assertion.


This story is still developing, but as MSN reported, O’Reilly has been quick — imagine that — to respond to the allegations that Mother Jones has made that the correspondent did not face hostile fire, as he has reported for more than three decades.

MSN reports: “The (Mother Jones) website’s David Corn highlights several instances where the Fox News primetime host claimed to have covered the 1982 fighting in the Falklands War between Argentina and England up close–the issue is few reporters were able to cover the conflict up close due to the remote location of the war zone.”

I’m not going to make an assessment here of whether O’Reilly fibbed about his war coverage. I will, however, suggest that the Fox News TV talk show star’s aggressive reporting of others’ troubles — such as Brian Williams — exposes him to careful scrutiny by other watchdogs to ensure that he’s as righteous as he claims to be.

Here’s the Mother Jones article that O’Reilly asserts is “bulls***.” It’s lengthy. It’s also quite interesting and carefully detailed.


See for yourself. Is David Corn merely a “left-wing assassin,” as O’Reilly asserts, or is he an aggressive reporter?

As for O’Reilly, it appears he has to explain himself — without resorting to name-calling.