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Fri Feb 20, 2015, 11:48 PM

Bill O'Reilly Has His Own Brian Williams Problem [View all]

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Source: Mother Jones

By David Corn and Daniel Schulman.

The Fox News host has said he was in a "war zone" that apparently no American correspondent reached.

After NBC News suspended anchor Brian Williams for erroneously claiming that he was nearly shot down in a helicopter while covering the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly went on a tear. On his television show, the top-rated cable news anchor declared that the American press isn't "half as responsible as the men who forged the nation." He bemoaned the supposed culture of deception within the liberal media, and he proclaimed that the Williams controversy should prompt questioning of other "distortions" by left-leaning outlets. 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 the United Kingdom 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."

Yet his own account of his time in Argentina in his 2001 book, The No Spin Zone, contains no references to O'Reilly experiencing or covering any combat during the Falklands War. In the book, which in part chronicles his troubled stint as a CBS News reporter, O'Reilly reports that he arrived in Buenos Aires soon before the Argentine junta surrendered to the British, ending the 10-week war over control of two territories far off the coast of Argentina. There is nothing in this memoir indicating that O'Reilly witnessed the fighting between British and Argentine military forces—or that he got anywhere close to the Falkland Islands, which are 300 miles off Argentina's shore and about 1,200 miles south of Buenos Aires.

Read more: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/bill-oreilly-brian-williams-falklands-war



For those unfamiliar with the subject, the Falklands War (April-June 1982) took place entirely in the Falkland Islands themselves and the South Atlantic. He would have had to sail to the South Atlantic to have witnessed any hostilities (which of course he never did). Contrary to his assertions, moreover, no one was killed in the Buenos Aires protests that followed the June 14 surrender.

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