Bill O'Reilly has been among those to criticize Brian Williams for his Iraq War claims. "It is extremely important that the national media stop the corruption and begin telling the truth," he said last week. Now Mother Jones reports O'Reilly's own stories about reporting in war zones have some issues. In particular, O'Reilly claims to have witnessed combat during the 1982 Falklands War while working for CBS News and in 2013 said he saved his cameraman. "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. I had to make a decision. And I dragged him off." Here's the case Mother Jones makes:
- Colleagues say no US correspondent reached the "war zone," and one British journalist who did make it there during the fighting confirms the media consisted only of Brits. Instead, the US media was stationed 1,200 miles away in Buenos Aires.
- CBS' Bob Schieffer says it was "impossible" for US journalists to see combat. "For us, you were a thousand miles from where the fighting was. So we had some great meals."
- In his 2001 book The No Spin Zone, O'Reilly says he was "on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands," but only describes a "major riot" in Buenos Aires, where he says "many were killed" after the war had ended.
- When recounting the riot in a 2009 interview, the cameraman story was told in the context of the protest. O'Reilly said he dragged his cameraman off the streets "because he was bleeding from the ear and had hit his head on the concrete." He added soldiers were "gunning these people down" and one pointed an M16 at him. News reports from the day make no mention of deaths.
- As Mother Jones puts it, "The protest in Buenos Aires was not combat. Nor was it part of the Falklands war. Yet O'Reilly has referred to his work in Argentina—and his rescue of his cameraman—as occurring in a 'war zone.'"
O'Reilly tells the New York Daily News
the story is "bulls---" and a "contrived hit piece by a smear merchant." While in Buenos Aires, he says, "the Argentine army pulled up in giant trucks, came out with guns, and opened fire on the crowd ... that was combat." (Read more Brian Williams