“The O’Reilly Factor’s” Bill O’Reilly has been one of the Right’s attack dogs on the Brian Williams fiasco, not that anything he has argued is undeserved or incorrect. He has stated, clearly and without exception, that no lying anchors, reporters or commentator can be trusted by viewers, and thus should not be watched. Now the uber-leftist magazine Mother Jones has published an impressive report that seems to show that O’Reilly himself has repeatedly exaggerated his own combat reporting experience over the years, in his case, during the Falkland Islands conflict when he was a CBS reporter:
[F]or 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.”
Fox News and O’Reilly did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
1. If Mother Jones’ writers (David Corn and Daniel Schulman) are correct, and the research looks thorough, then O’Reilly is obligated by his own words to take himself off the air. If he does not, then he will have branded himself a fraud and a hypocrite.
2. To the Mother Jones writers’ credit, they don’t accuse Fox’s head bloviator of hypocrisy, because he isn’t, yet. Nothing he has said regarding Williams and journalism isn’t true. He has not been unfair to Williams. Based on what Bill has said, if Mother Jones has him dead to rights, then he must concede that viewers can no longer trust him either, and he has made it very clear what needs to happen. If O’Reilly doesn’t abide by his own stated principles, then he’s a hypocrite. We shall see.
3. If Corn and Schulman are right, then Fox News would have to handle O’Reilly much as NBC has dealt with Williams, but one hopes faster and less hesitantly.
4. Are you surprised? I’m not. O’Reilly has a lot in common with Williams—an addiction to self-glorification, a monstrous ego, and an unseemly desire for celebrity. I’ve caught him fudging to artificially enhance his resume, as when he refers to himself as a Harvard alumnus. O’Reilly got a Masters degree in Public Administration at the Kennedy School of Government, so he’s technically correct, but I’m certain most of his viewers never heard of the Kennedy School, and think that he means the college. I have it on good authority that Harvard grads who feel the need to broadcast their connection to the school are widely regarded by other Harvard grads as pompous, insecure jerks. Bill’s undergrad degree is from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and he earned his journalism degree from Boston University, an excellent school.
5. This is good investigative journalism. It also wreaks of a deliberate “you took one of ours down, so we take one of yours” hit job by Mother Jones. A fundraising pitch for the Democratic Party popped up while I was reading the piece: this was opposition research. Corn, who also broke the unethically taped Romney comments about the “47%”, would never expose Williams or any other reliably Obama-guarding network talking head, because he, and Mother Jones, don’t care about lying journalists who advance The Cause. Of course, I doubt anyone on Fox would expose false statements by George Will or Charles Krauthammer. Is there no media outlet that just cares about promoting honest journalism and trustworthy broadcasters?
6. I expect the mainstream media to be much more aggressive and unsympathetic, with all the Williams “false memories’ rationalizations magically absent, if the Mother Jones story hold up. After all, it’s O’Reilly, Fox News, and conservatives. No mercy for those bastards.
I was on Bill’s show (about Beyonce’s lip-synching at the Inauguration), and he was wonderful to me. I got positive feedback from the appearance, and he said they would look for opportunities to have me back.
Well, that’s the end of that gig…
Update: Bill’s response, to The Blaze, is here. He says it all a lie, stands by his previous statements, calls the story a politically motivated hit piece (it is, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be accurate), and calls Corn a moron. That’ s Bill. I hope he can back it all up.
Facts: Mother Jones