BREAKING: Bill O'Reilly Has Possibly Lied About A Few Things
Here's a story nobody could have predicted: Bill O'Reilly is a big fat liar. Again. And yes, we're still reeling from the devastating breaking news too. The guy who claimed to have won Peabody awards that were in fact Polk awards that were in fact not awarded to him or for his work at all has told some untruths about his journalism experience. Say it ain't so!
Being a real stand-up kind of guy, and a serious journalist to boot, Bill O'Reilly recently devoted a segment of his show to whining about the revelation that NBC's Brian Williams had made up some stories about his heroic and harrowing experience in Iraq when he was doing serious embedded journalism. This, of course, is an affront to real journalists like O'Reilly, especially because NBC won a Peabody Award (an actual one) for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina, thanks in part to Williams's reporting, and O'Reilly is still bitter and jealous about news outlets who win actual Peabody awards instead of just the made-up O'Reilly kind.
After defending Williams for a while, because that seemed like a good way to get some attention, O'Reilly decided Williams is at least partly to blame for the downfall of the Fourth Estate, if not all of American democracy:
Reporting the news comes with a big responsibility. The Founding Fathers made that point very clearly.
They said to us, we will give you freedom, we will protect you from government intrusion but in return you must be honest.
President John Adams got so angry with the press he tried to shut it down, but the balance of powers stopped Mr. Adams from doing that.
Here on The Factor we are in our 19th season, an amazing run and we have made some mistakes in the past, but very few.
We put together an honest broadcast and we take great pains to present you with information that can be verified.
All Americans who love their country should think about what happened to Brian Williams … to think about other news agencies that are distorting the facts.
Whatever, blah blah blah, same old O'Reilly grandstanding spewed from his facehole, like he does every night, he's the greatest journalist OF ALL TIME blah blah, the end.
Except for some reason, Mother Jones decided to look into O'Reilly's own claims of his own heroic and harrowing war zone coverage, just for shits and giggles, apparently, and ... brace yourselves ... it seems O'Reilly is also pissing on the graves of our founders, and Zombie John Adams is going to come back and kick his ass too.
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."
American reporters were not on the ground in this distant war zone. "Nobody got to the war zone during the Falklands war," Susan Zirinsky, a longtime CBS News producer who helped manage the network's coverage of the war from Buenos Aires, tells Mother Jones. She does not remember what O'Reilly did during his time in Argentina. But she notes that the military junta kept US reporters from reaching the islands: "You weren't allowed on by the Argentinians. No CBS person got there."
You see, it all comes down to whether you think being in Buenos Aires right after the Argentine government surrendered actually counts as being in a "war zone." O'Reilly says it definitely did so count:
"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.)
So there were shots fired, by Argentine troops at Argentine civilians. Sounds good -- this means that anyone who covered Kent State can say they were a Vietnam War correspondent.
There is even a video you can watch, if you don't see the point of reading all those millions of words just to be further persuaded that, shocker!, Bill O'Reilly is a goddamned liar.
The Fox News host told me in an interview that he has always accurately described what happened during that period and that David Corn, Washington bureau chief of the left-wing magazine, “is a liar, a smear merchant, and will do anything he can to injure me and the network. Everybody knows that. Everything I’ve reported about my journalistic career is true.”
Oh, well then. That ought to settle it definitively. Bill O'Reilly says the report is false, and O'Reilly has never lied about anything at all. Any other evidence that O'Reilly's version is the truth and the "left-wing magazine" is obviously making up smears about O'Reilly?
And yet the Mother Jones piece appears to turn on semantics, not some specific story that O’Reilly told about being in the Falklands.
Kurtz then lists the several examples of specific stories O'Reilly has told, proving that the the Mother Jones report is bogus because instead of citing one example of O'Reilly boasting about his war coverage, it provides multiple examples of O'Reilly boasting about his war coverage, which somehow equals "semantics" if you do not know what "semantics" means, as Howard Kurtz obviously doesn't.
Any final insights Fox News analyst Howard Kurtz has to offer in objective defense of his Fox News colleague Bill O'Reilly?
But Corn’s own piece largely backs up O’Reilly’s account of the dangerous situation, except for O'Reilly's recollection that there were fatalities[.]
For fuck's sake, and we can't even, and dear god, can we just skip to the part where we hit "publish" and immediately commence stabbing ourselves in the face to relieve the pain? The Mother Jones piece pretty blatantly contradicts O'Reilly's ridiculous claims, on multiple occasions, that he's the greatest front-lines war correspondent of all time, and somehow, that backs up O'Reilly's account, except for how it doesn't.
So who is telling big fat lies, Bill O'Reilly and his Fox News colleague or -- screw it, we're not even going to finish that rhetorical waste-of-pixels question. We're just going to go straight to the face-stabbing now.