CBS Workers Dispute Bill O'Reilly's 'War Zone' Story

Fox host under fire over claim he saw combat
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2015 5:10 PM CST
CBS Workers: Bill O'Reilly's 'War Zone' Tale Not True
FOX TV show host Bill O'Reilly arrives for a taping of the "Late Show with David Letterman," Monday, Oct. 27, 2008, in New York.   (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

The media skirmish over Bill O'Reilly's "war zone" claim is only getting nastier. The Fox News host has long said "many were killed" in Buenos Aires, Argentina, when he was there in 1982 for CBS—but now several CBS staffers say it's not true, CNN Money reports. "Nobody remembers this happening," says CBS cameraman Manny Alvarez, who was there. In his 2001 book The No Spin Zone, O'Reilly says he covered "active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands"; in 2013, he described saving his wounded photographer while covering the Falklands War from afar in Buenos Aires. But a Mother Jones piece attacked some of his claims, and O'Reilly fired back by calling article co-author David Corn an "irresponsible guttersnipe" and a liar, Fox News reports.

Now seven CBS staffers who were in Buenos Aires say no company employee was injured at the time: "If somebody got hurt, we all would have known," says Alvarez. And former CBS News correspondent Eric Engberg wrote on Facebook that "it was not a war zone or even close. It was an 'expense account zone.'" In an interview, Engberg says he saw more violence at protests against Vietnam in Washington, DC, than in Buenos Aires that day, the LA Times reports. O'Reilly's version is "a fabrication," adds Engberg. "A lie." For his part, O'Reilly dug up a New York Times report on rioting (but no deaths) in Buenos Aires, and called Engberg "Room Service Eric"—implying he missed the rioting. Engberg says that's "the most absurd thing I've ever heard. I never ordered room service during a riot." (More war stories.)

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