Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has now been accused of lying about his battleground experience — just a week after NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was suspended for six months for exaggerating his wartime escapades.
In an article published on Thursday in Mother Jones, O’Reilly was accused of claiming to have acted “heroically in a war zone that he apparently never set foot in.”
The article says 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.”
“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,” Mother Jones quotes the Fox News broadcaster as saying.
Here’s what you need to know about Bill O’Reilly’s war stories:
1. He Boasted he Covered ‘Active War Zones From El Salvador to The Falklands’
Left wing magazine Mother Jones claims O’Reilly, age 65, overplayed his coverage of the Falklands conflict and the El Salvador civil war in the 1980s and suggested he was being hypocritical in lambasting Brian Williams after the NBC anchor was accused of lying.
The magazine also claims that O’Reilly elaborated on the destruction he saw in one El Salvadoran town he visited as a correspondent.
2. He Said he ‘Survived a Combat Situation in Argentina’
O’Reilly arrived in Buenos Aires just before Argentina surrendered to the British. The Falkland Islands were 1,200 miles away.
The Fox host and author said he was in the war zone during the Falkland Island conflicts – but all the fighting was in the Falkland Islands and not in Buenos Aires. Mother Jones reporter David Corn said: “He covered a protest after the war was over in Buenos Aires. I don’t think that’s a reasonable definition of a combat situation. If you look up ‘combat situation’ in the dictionary, it’s not ‘an ugly protest’.’
3. No U.S. Reporters Reached the Falkland Islands
O’Reilly suggested that he covered the Falklands in his 2001 book No Spin Zone, but during the Falkland War no US journalists were given permission to report on the ground from the far-flung South Atlantic islands.
Bob Schieffer and producer Susan Zininsky, from CBS, confirmed to Mother Jones that Americans weren’t able to reach the Falklands and reported from the Argentine capital.
4. He Claims Mother Jones Article is a ‘Hit Piece’ and ‘a Piece of Garbage’
O’Reilly hit back on Thursday night, telling the Daily Mail: “The report is a politically motivated smear job by a guy who has a long history of doing this. All you have to do is Google David Corn, Fox News, Bill O’Reilly to see that he does this on a regular basis.
“He does this because he’s a far-left zealot, he doesn’t like the operation, so he sees an opportunity to try to tie me to Brian Williams and he takes it.
“It’s a ‘totally dishonest piece,” O’Reilly adds: “Everything I’ve ever said about my reportorial career is accurate. I have never mislead anyone or said anything that is untrue.”
5. He Denies Ever Claiming to be in The Falklands
The unrepentant broadcaster insists he never claimed to have actually traveled to the Falklands and said that his description of Buenos Aires as a “war zone” was accurate.
“All you have to do is get the video from CBS about what happened the night that they surrendered. The Argentinians, in Buenos Aires – it certainly was a war zone where bullets were being shot people were going down,” he told the Daily Mail.
“It was combat of the closest quarters. There’s no question about it. I filed two reports it led the [Dan] Rather broadcast video and then I filed later on and I got an internal memo from CBS commending me on my coverage. When bullets are shot it’s combat. That’s what happened.”