Mother Jones calls it “Bill O’Reilly‘s Brian Williams Problem.” In a piece published late this afternoon, the left-leaning news site claims the right-leaning Fox News Channel host has told false stories about his reporting nearly 33 years ago, when he was a correspondent with CBS News.
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 …for years, O’Reilly has recounted dramatic stories… that don’t withstand scrutiny—even claiming he acted heroically in a war zone that he apparently never set foot in.
The story’s authors David Corn and Daniel Schulman say their “multiple requests for comment” to Fox News and O’Reilly went unanswered. Tonight, TVNewser spoke with O’Reilly to get his side of the story:
TVNewser: Decades later, do you feel your memory could have changed a little bit?
O’Reilly: No, Everything I said is true.
TVNewser: The report says that you didn’t mention the Falklands in your book, The No Spin Zone. Do you have any comment on that?
O’Reilly: I laid this out in a book called, Those Who Trespass. That was the first book that I wrote. Soup to nuts, what happened in Buenos Aires during the Falklands war. My pieces ran on CBS News. I was praised for them. I mean, this is ridiculous. Everything I said is verifiable. The video that I got led the Dan Rather program that night. This is insane. I never said I was on the Falkland Islands, nobody was.
TVNewser: Do you think anything in the report is libelous?
O’Reilly: The whole report is a giant piece of defamation. All you have to do is Google David Corn and Fox News, Bill O’Reilly and you’ll see this guy has made a history of it. This isn’t the first time this guy has done it.
TVNewser: So you have a history with him?
O’Reilly: This guy is far-left assassin. That’s what he does. Everybody knows that, Brian.
TVNewser: With the way the media ran with the Brian Williams story, could you see this becoming bigger than you feel it should be?
O’Reilly: No. Because people like you are going to write the truth. When everybody writes the truth, I’ve talked to about eight or nine reporters, and when they verify what I’m saying, because it’s easily verifiable, then I expect David Corn to be in the kill zone. Where he deserves to be. CBS News has the footage to this day. Everything I said about my reportorial career — EVERYTHING — is accurate.
(This interview has been edited for length and clarity)