Bill O'Reilly that time he was in a war zone with Donald Trump.
Turns out, NBC's Brian Williams isn't the only one with a habit of embellishing his combat reporting experience. Fox News' own tough guy
Bill O'Reilly has told some wild stories
about his time "in the Falklands" during the 1982 conflict between Britain and Argentina, as David Corn reports in great detail for Mother Jones
. The problem starts with that phrase: "in the Falklands." Or "in the war zones of [the] Falkland conflict." Or "I've reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands." Thing is, no American reporter made it to the Falkland Islands at all once combat had started. O'Reilly did his reporting, like everyone else, from Buenos Aires, 1,200 miles away. But he's gotten more specific than just claiming to have reported from the Falkland war zone, saying, in 2013, that:
I was in a situation one time, in a war zone in Argentina, in the Falklands, where my photographer got run down and then hit his head and was bleeding from the ear on the concrete. And the army was chasing us. I had to make a decision. And I dragged him off, you know, but at the same time, I'm looking around and trying to do my job, but I figure I had to get this guy out of there because that was more important.
There may be some truth to this, if you take "a war zone in Argentina, in the Falklands," and replace it with "a protest in Buenos Aires, after the Falklands conflict had ended." O'Reilly has also described the "major riot" in Buenos Aires he covered for CBS—seemingly the same event—but even when he's not turning it into a war zone with the army chasing him, he's ... embellished. According to O'Reilly, "many were killed" and he was the only CBS reporter brave enough to be out in the streets. According to CBS' Bob Schieffer, though, Schieffer and other CBS reporters were also out covering the protest, and reports from CBS, the New York Times
, the Miami Herald
, and UPI failed to mention the "many" who O'Reilly claims were killed. But we don't know that O'Reilly's photographer didn't
hit his head, so win.
Also, O'Reilly's stories about his reporting on the civil war in El Salvador have some similar inconsistencies: Was a village completely leveled with no sign of human life, or were there people walking around a village with a few burned-down buildings? Was O'Reilly bravely venturing into a guerrilla-controlled area that "no one in his right mind" would enter, or was he getting a military-guided helicopter tour of areas once controlled by insurgents? His own reporting has differed on these points at different times.
O'Reilly is, predictably, on the angry offensive trying to rebut the Mother Jones story, with Howie Kurtz acting as stenographer. See, if every time O'Reilly has said "in the Falklands" or referred to the war zones of the Falklands, you understand him as meaning "during the Falklands conflict, but in another location," most of what he has said isn't technically false. Except for the part about being the only CBS reporter with the nerve to be out in the streets while many were killed, but ... minor details, right? According to O'Reilly, "what I have reported, I have reported," and "everything I've reported is accurate." Apparently even the parts where he's told the same story two very different ways.
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