Mother Jones Unearths Footage of O’Reilly Reporting from Falkland ‘Disturbance’
Mother Jones, which first leveled accusations at Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly for embellishing his “war zone” reporting on the Falklands in 1982, found video of that reporting Monday that the magazine claims definitively disputes O’Reilly’s accounts.
O’Reilly used the phrase “war zone” to refer to the situation from which he reported on the Falkland War between Argentina and England. But multiple CBS News sources told Mother Jones that no one had gotten anywhere near an actual war zone. O’Reilly claimed he had in fact been referring to protests in Buenos Aires, where he said he witnessed a riot with multiple fatalities, and during which an M-16 rifle was held to his head. Those claims have also been disputed by former colleagues.
Multiple CBS News colleagues have contradicted O’Reilly’s claim, while he has defiantly defended himself, going so far as to issue a threat to media outlets who cover the story.
Mother Jones found a clip that O’Reilly had assembled for CBS News at the time that was not released, as it did not run on CBS’ evening news broadcast but instead on local affiliates. In it O’Reilly discusses the protests, which he called a “disturbance.”
“Police were pelted with coins, and some journalists behind the lines were hurt,” O’Reilly said in the report. “Then suddenly the police struck back, firing tear gas and rushing the crowd. There were many arrests, but still some in the crowd would leave. Fires start up, and groups reformed, continuing to denounce the military regime.”
Mother Jones’ David Corn wrote:
What’s notable about O’Reilly’s report is what’s not in it. He does not refer to Argentine soldiers gunning down civilians or mention any deaths. He says nothing about soldiers chasing him and his crew. And there’s no reference to a CBS cameraman being injured. (A reporter who witnesses soldiers shooting protesters and killing many civilians would presumably be compelled to report on those horrors.) His report depicts exactly what other journalists and eyewitnesses have said took place: a violent demonstration in which tear gas and rubber bullets were deployed. In this 1982 report, O’Reilly called the demonstration a “disturbance.” But in later years—on his Fox News show, in his writings, and at speaking engagements—he has claimed that the event was a bloody melee that amounted to “combat” in a “war zone.”
Fox has previously issued the following statement regarding claims made by Mother Jones (we will update this post if a new statement is issued):
“Bill O’Reilly has already addressed several claims leveled against him. This is nothing more than an orchestrated campaign by far left advocates Mother Jones and Media Matters. Responding to the unproven accusation du jour has become an exercise in futility. FOX News maintains its staunch support of O’Reilly, who is no stranger to calculated onslaughts.”
Watch the clip below, via Mother Jones:
[h/t Mother Jones]
[Image via screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]