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US top news figure admits he never was in the Falklands during the 1982 war

Saturday, February 21st 2015 - 04:40 UTC
Full article 30 comments
O'Reilly said what he meant by ”active war zones ... (in) the Falklands” was the tumultuous street demonstrations in Buenos Aires that erupted after the war. O'Reilly said what he meant by ”active war zones ... (in) the Falklands” was the tumultuous street demonstrations in Buenos Aires that erupted after the war.
Corn responded that “O'Reilly more than once said he was in a war zone. But the war was on an island. It was not in Buenos Aires”. Corn responded that “O'Reilly more than once said he was in a war zone. But the war was on an island. It was not in Buenos Aires”.
“No U.S. reporters got to the Falklands where the fighting took place. Only about 30 British journalists accredited by the British government made it there” “No U.S. reporters got to the Falklands where the fighting took place. Only about 30 British journalists accredited by the British government made it there”

Another United States prominent TV news figure has been accused of exaggerating his exploits while covering combat situations: this time it's Fox News' Bill O'Reilly and refers to his alleged coverage of the Falklands' war in 1982.

 The left leaning Mother Jones magazine on Thursday said O'Reilly has his own “Brian Williams problem” because he has said a number of times that he covered combat on the Falkland Islands during the war between Britain and Argentina in 1982.

For example, In his 2001 book, “The No Spin Zone: Confrontations With the Powerful and Famous in America”, O'Reilly wrote, “You know that I am not easily shocked. I've reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands”.

Trouble is, no U.S. reporters got to the South Atlantic islands where the fighting took place. Only about 30 British journalists, accredited by the British government, made it there. Most of the journalists dispatched to cover the conflict did so from the safe confines of Buenos Aires, 1,200 miles away.

Predictably, O'Reilly's response to the allegations was to come out fighting, directing heavy artillery at one of the article's authors, David Corn. Asked why he wouldn't respond to Mother Jones' request for comment on the story, the blustery host told The Washington Post, “Because David Corn is a guttersnipe liar.”

O'Reilly then said of Corn, “For years he's been trying to get Fox News. I would never speak to the man about anything at any time. He's a disgusting piece of garbage.”

However O'Reilly concedes he never did set foot on the embattled islands. What he meant by the ”active war zones ... (in) the Falklands“ was the tumultuous street demonstrations in Buenos Aires that erupted after the war.

To which Corn responded in the British newspaper The Guardian, ”O'Reilly more than once said he was in a war zone. But the war was on an island. It was not in Buenos Aires. It's like saying you were in a war zone during the Vietnam War because you were in Washington.“

O'Reilly tried another approach in an interview with Mediate. ”If you were assigned to a war, you put on your résumé you covered the Falklands, the Middle East, El Salvador, wherever it is where you were sent,“ he said. ”This is what journalists do.“

It will be fascinating to see whether this contretemps has legs. O”Reilly clearly is guilty of stretching the truth. He readily concedes he wasn't in the Falklands. And street protests are a far cry from covering combat. His language was a long way from precise.

“Nobody from CBS got to the Falklands. I came close. We’d been trying to get somebody down there. It was impossible,” said Bob Schieffer, CBS News’ lead Falklands War correspondent at the time. “For us, you were a thousand miles from where the fighting was. So we had some great meals.”

Another longtime CBS journalist, Susan Zirinsky, who managed CBS’ war coverage from Buenos Aires, does not remember what O’Reilly did in Argentina but said the military junta prevented American journalists from reaching the islands.

O’Reilly invoked his time as a war correspondent several times over the years to show that he understands “life-and-death situations” and is “not easily shocked”.

In 2008, responding to an attack from journalist Bill Moyers, O’Reilly said, “I missed Moyers in the war zones of [the] Falkland conflict in Argentina, the Middle East, and Northern Ireland. I looked for Bill, but I didn’t see him,” O’Reilly said.

Interestingly, O'Reilly came to Williams' defense in the wake of news that the NBC anchor had falsely said he was in a helicopter during the Iraq War that came under enemy fire and was forced down. Williams was forced to retract the story and has been suspended without pay for six months.

“There's a lot of people that seem to be real happy that his career has gone down the drain,” O'Reilly said on Jimmy Kimmel Live, “and that disturbs me.”

Corn also revealed he gave Fox News and O’Reilly more than nine hours to address the allegations before making them public.

According to Fox News, the issue is a matter of semantics regarding O’Reilly’s shorthand use of “the Falklands” and “war zone” — not his journalistic integrity.

However Corn argued that O'Reilly 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”.

“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.’’’

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Troy Tempest

    It is only FOX News after all - it's not surprising.

    Interesting the headline calls him a “news figure”, not a journalist.

    Feb 21st, 2015 - 09:39 am 0
  • ChrisR

    Perhaps O'Rielly “misspoke” in the manner of the other known liar, Hilary Clinton, who claimed she had to walk “under sniper fire” during one foreign visit!

    What is it with these utter morons? Do they think their lies will never come to light. Perhaps that is where the hole in her head came from.

    I gave up watching FOX News when they portrayed some college undergraduates as being against the American people when they questioned the veracity of the administration over Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Feb 21st, 2015 - 10:07 am 0
  • imoyaro

    Never thought he was. ;)

    Feb 21st, 2015 - 11:14 am 0
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