Bill O’Reilly’s ‘war zone’ claims
Fox news host Bill O’Reilly criticized NBC anchor Brian Williams for falsely claiming that he was nearly shot down in a helicopter covering the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But now O’Reilly himself is facing questions about his claims that he has seen combat and worked in a war zone.
A Mother Jones report, written by David Corn and Daniel Schulman, focuses primarily on O’Reilly’s claims about his coverage of the 1982 Falklands war between England and Argentina. The report cites numerous instances where O’Reilly said he reported from the war zone and witnessed conflict first-hand.
“I’ve been there,” O’Reilly said on one occasion, according to the report. “That’s really what separates me from most of these other bloviators. I bloviate but I bloviate about stuff I’ve seen.”
Yet the Mother Jones report says O’Reilly was stuck in Buenos Aires during the war and never made it to the islands where fighting occurred nearly 1,400 miles off the coast of Argentina. O’Reilly apparently did cover protests in Buenos Aires after the war that turned violent, but the Mother Jones report suggests O’Reilly’s claims about the violence may have been exaggerated.
In his interview with Politico, O’Reilly said that he never claimed to have been on the Falkland Islands. “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.”
One example in the Mother Jones report is an interview O’Reilly did with Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki after the Boston Marathon bombings. Talking about the responsibility of journalists when they are covering a situation where people are injured, O’Reilly said: “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.”
Corn, responding to O’Reilly’s attacks on him and his reporting, said the Fox news host is ducking on the facts. “He said he was in the war zone during the Falkland Island conflicts — the conflict was in the Falkland Islands, it was not in Buenos Aires,” 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.'”
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