Fox News Helps Bill O’Reilly Defend His Combat Lies By Lying Even More

[Be sure to see this update (2/22/15) with O’Reilly’s interview on Fox’s MediaBuzz]

Two weeks ago News Corpse reported that Bill O’Reilly had committed substantially the same sins of historical “embellishment” that got NBC’s Brian Williams a six month suspension. He said on numerous occasions that he had been personally involved in combat situations where his life was at risk. None of it was true.

Fox News Bill O'Reilly

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This week David Corn of Mother Jones did a more in-depth article that documented additional instances of O’Reilly misrepresenting his war reporting. Corn’s piece was a fair investigation into O’Reilly’s own accounts of his past that significantly differ from reality. It’s a must read to understand the full measure of O’Reilly’s dishonesty.

Not surprisingly, Fox News and O’Reilly himself are hitting back hard to dispute Corn’s well researched article. O’Reilly has resorted to the most childish sort of response by calling Corn names such as “guttersnipe, irresponsible, liar,” and that old O’Reilly stand-by, “far left zealot.” What he never does is refute a single charge made in the article with any facts. The whole of O’Reilly’s defense is his insistence that “Everything I’ve reported about my journalistic career is true.” If that’s so, then why doesn’t he prove it?

The Fox Nation posted an advance transcript of O’Reilly’s Talking Points Memo that he delivers at the start of every broadcast. This is possibly the first time that has ever been done, which speaks to the gravity of this problem and how seriously O’Reilly considers the potential fallout. In the transcript O’Reilly repeats the insults aimed at Corn that he previously gave to reporters and adds more invective directed to his publisher, saying “Mother Jones … which has low circulation … considered by many the bottom rung of journalism in America.”

The “many” to which O’Reilly refers is likely his family and the dimwits who watch his program. In the real world Mother Jones is a respected publication that has distinguished itself by winning numerous journalism awards including honors from the National Press Club, The PEN American Center, American Society of Magazine Editors, Society of Professional Journalists, Online News Association, and a 2012 George Polk Award for Corn’s investigation of the now famous 47% speech by Mitt Romney. The Polk Award may have provided the harshest sting because it is one that O’Reilly was caught lying about having received himself. It was now-Sen. Al Franken who exposed that O’Reilly fib.

Rushing to O’Reilly’s aid is Fox’s media analyst and host of MediaBuzz, Howard Kurtz. In an article posted to the Fox News website, Kurtz whitewashes O’Reilly’s self-mythologizing by asserting that “the Mother Jones piece appears to turn on semantics.” Then Kurtz posts some of O’Reilly’s false statements that are not remotely semantic in nature. For instance:

–In a 2001 book, O’Reilly said: “I’ve reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands.”

–In a Washington panel discussion, O’Reilly said: “I’ve covered wars, okay? I’ve been there. The Falklands, Northern Ireland, the Middle East. I’ve almost been killed three times, okay.”

–In a 2004 column, O’Reilly wrote: “Having survived a combat situation in Argentina during the Falklands war, I know that life-and-death decisions are made in a flash.”

Kurtz writes that in these statements “the dispute comes down to O’Reilly’s shorthand use of the Falklands and the term “war zone.” Huh? What on Earth does that mean? Is Kurtz excusing outright lies with the explanation that O’Reilly was using the lies as shorthand for the truth, and therefore it’s OK?

It’s clear from the statements that Kurtz himself referenced that O’Reilly had put himself “on the ground in active war zones,” and said that he was “there…in the Falklands,” and that he “survived a combat situation in Argentina.” Since there was no combat anywhere in Argentina other than on the Falkland Islands, O’Reilly is implying that that’s where he was. Which he wasn’t. He also was not in Argentina “during the Falklands war,” but arrived after it was over.

Kurtz ignored all of these obviously mis-factual statements in order to absolve O’Reilly of any guilt. Later Kurtz writes that “Corn’s own piece largely backs up O’Reilly’s account of the dangerous situation.” No, actually, it does not. Corn did point out that some of the statements O’Reilly made were corroborated by other accounts, but he never came close to dismissing the multiple assertions by O’Reilly (like those above) that were blatantly false.

In the end Kurtz attempted an awkward exoneration of O’Reilly by claiming that Corn’s reporting was “a far cry from a bogus claim of having been shot down in a helicopter.” How so? By any fair standard O’Reilly’s remarks that placed him in harm’s way on a battlefield (“almost been killed three times”) are at least three times worse than Williams’ mis-remembering of a single event.

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O’Reilly’s lies are a repulsive attempt to exalt himself and his faux bravado. He has repeated these lies for decades in books, on television, and in personal appearances, and now, even after being caught, he refuses to apologize. If anyone deserves to be suspended for an extended period of time, it’s O’Reilly. But he has nothing to worry about on that score. Fox News has never acquitted itself in a respectable manner, particularly when it comes to journalistic integrity. They aren’t about to start now.

However, the stain O’Reilly leaves has now spread to Howard Kurtz, whose groveling and desperate defense is deceitful, unethical, and embarrassing. He should be suspended as well for aiding and abetting O’Reilly’s fraudulent fabrications. Of course, Kurtz will also escape accountability. It’s a perk that comes with working for Fox News. Unscrupulous dishonesty will never be a cause for punishment. At Fox News it is more likely to earn a promotion.

UPDATE: The festering ego we know as Bill O’Reilly came to his own rescue last night by devoting a chunk of his program to piling on more lies about his war reporting. He recruited his pals Bernie Goldberg and Geraldo Rivera as his character witnesses. Meanwhile, actual war correspondents are coming forward to criticize O’Reilly and veterans groups are calling for Fox News to take O’Reilly off the air:

VoteVets: “NBC acted completely appropriately in taking Brian Williams off the air and looking into claims he’s made over the years. Fox News has to do the same thing. […] Men and women have fought, died, been wounded, and scarred by war. There are many journalists who actually were in the crossfire, who died, trying to bring the story to the American people. What Bill O’Reilly has done is steal their valor, and it is wrong.”


12 thoughts on “Fox News Helps Bill O’Reilly Defend His Combat Lies By Lying Even More

  1. I remember getting into an argument over this with a right wing troll at mother jones. First he asserted that O’ Rielly’s account of Buenos Aries covers what he said since the 2 places are the same (they are not). Next he tried to re-assert the above by claiming the 2 places were close enough to be “the same” (clearly an illogical statement, then again he was lambasting William’s lie and I’m sure the chopper that got hit wasn’t 1200 miles away from him).

    Finally he tried to spin it such that O Rielly was actually referring to his experiences in Bueno Aries rather than the Falklands itself….which of course ignores O’ Rielly’s own remarks about “being on the ground in the Falklands” and being in “a combat situation” (as I judiciously pointed out, the unrest in Buenos Aries at the time is not “a combat situation).

    That this particular O’ Rielly defender’s remarks strike so close to those of Kurtz is pretty insightful. When it comes to the indefensible, rather than admit the point, right wingers will attempt to avoid what is basically anathema to them (admitting that one of their own is wrong), they would go to any lengths to defend it.

    Even waxing illogical on the issue is preferable to concession as far as they are concerned.

  2. I just read Kurtz’s “defense” in full. Absolutely pathetic is what I’d call it. Other than the obvious hedging on “semantics”, the centerpiece of that article attempts a straw man which cites O’ Rielly’s account during the Buenos Aries unrest being corroborated and how it is a “far cry” from William’s lies.

    The reason why this is such a blatant straw man is because David Corn’s piece never disputed that O’ Rielly was in Buenos Aries or ANY of his accounts there. What the piece was highlighting was O’ Rielly’s statements about “being on the ground” in the Falklands and in a “combat situation” when in fact he was never anywhere near the battles in the Falklands..

    On THAT issue Kurtz’s article pretty much concedes tha O’ Rielly was never in the Falklands, thus actually corroborating what Corn’s article mentioned.

    For trying to make O’ Rielly’s stint in Buenos Aries, something no one disputed, into the main issue and even trying to compare that to William’s account while avoiding the actual issue about Bill lying about being in the Falklands when he was never there, Kurtz is one slimy POS.

    • Kurtz has completed the transformation from weak media critic to MSM toady to full-on whore.

  3. Posted to MMFA’s latest of many O’Reilly stories at 9:37p. Great work as always, Mark.

  4. So, during his defense tonight in the Twilight Zone (aka the Lotsa Spin Zone), Bozo made a couple of statements we have to correct:

    “[Today’s Talking Points Memo:] More proof the American media is corrupt!”
    “[Fox News is] considered by many the bottom rung of journalism in America.”

    There, Bill-O – I fixed that for you.

  5. Of course, Fox did this to John Kerry in 2004 – remember the FoxPods’ defense of Dubya for “risking his life” by (not) serving in the Texas National Guard during the Vietnam War while at the same time condemning Kerry as a traitor because he attacked the Vietnam War after returning from Vietnam? Pure coincidence, of course.

  6. Fakelands Hero Bill O’Lielly has responded with his usual swagger. His neck waddle vibrated with righteous indignation, his red splotchy face turned from dark red to bright burgundy as the entire Faux Noise crowd rushed to the ramparts to defend Bill-O.

    The Right-Wing Fart Bubble will now dutifully pick-up the Faux lies and howl at everyone until the issue goes away or takes a far back page ala Christie’s Bridge Closing.

  7. O’Reilly can’t lose. He works for a television station whose Chairman, Roger Ailes, cares more about money and ratings (“winning”) than journalistic ethics, and in fact even prides himself on having no journalistic background, i.e., “I did not graduate from the Columbia School of Journalism.” Who needs ethics when you have the cult of personality?

  8. I heard a rumor Briann Williams and Bill O’Reilly will be at a metal show in Wallingford, CT at Cherry St. Station tomorrow (2/27) Let’s spread the word that we got some new members to welcome to metal community. ?#?williamsnoreillyindapit?

  9. Are you one lying communist traitor of a miscreant to call the truth-sayers in our nation “liars” while that moniker is the sole domain of the Pigressive Marxist Murdering Left? What hypocrisy! You are one brainwashed Bolshevik who is blindly pushing the greatest country the world has ever known right down the road to a second Civil War. Only this time the South is not outnumbered 5 to 1. Yes you have been waging a political war of subterfuge for these last 60 years and have captured, for the time being, The Marxist Professorships and Top University Administrations as well as the Socialist Labor Unions ( though their numbers are dwindling miserably), the anti-constitutional treason of the Lame ST Media, th Pinko Traitors of Hoooolywood, and the bewildered ignorami of the dumbed down demoturded base of the followers of the jackass. Ah well, I can always hope you’ll have an awakening and develope some intellectual honesty.

    • Thanks I haven’t had a good laugh like that in a long time.

      Oh wait, you aren’t serious are you? Nah, couldn’t be. Thanks again.

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