Fox News' Bill O'Reilly has been under fire following a series of revelations that seem to show he lied about numerous major reporting milestones in his career, from witnessing the murder of nuns in El Salvador to being witness to combat in the Falklands War to personally seeing the suicide of a figure involved in the JFK assassination investigation.
O'Reilly and his bosses at Fox have tried to explain away these apparent lies as simply matters of semantics, for example, claiming that he simply meant he viewed photographs of the assassinated nuns.
But a pair of new investigations provides the most damning evidence yet that O'Reilly outright lied about several events in his career, severely undermining whatever credibility he has left.
Video Of O'Reilly Reporting From Falklands' “War zone”
Mother Jones' David Corn and Daniel Schulman unearthed the original 1982 CBS News video featuring Bill O'Reilly reporting from Argentina. Recall that O'Reilly claimed to see soldiers “gunning down” Argentine civilians with “real bullets.”
Here's the actual video report he filed:
Although O'Reilly has admitted he was never actually in the Falkland Islands where the military conflict occurred, he claimed that the “combat situation” he was in involved at least violent protests in Argentina where killings occurred. The video clip above makes no mention of lethal violence in protests or a massacre that O'Reilly later claimed happened. He does mention that “some journalists behind the line were hurt” and the footage includes images of tear gas being used, but what is shown is similar to protests in the United States. In other words, there may have been heavy-handed use of police force, but there were no massacres, and it certainly wasn't the military combat zone O'Reilly later claimed it was.
Corn and Schulman summarize the video report this way: “With this footage, O'Reilly the reporter proves O'Reilly the pundit wrong.”
Bill O'Reilly's Audio Disproves His Own JFK Story
One other dramatic O'Reilly tale that has been called into question is his claim to have been present at the suicide of a figure who was sought for questioning in relation to the assassination of president John F. Kennedy.
CNN's Reliable Sources obtained a clear version of audio that contains the phone call between a congressional investigator (obtained through his surviving widow) and O'Reilly, which shows O'Reilly asking about the suicide, which would seem to completely disprove the idea that the Fox News host was actually present when it happened.
Here's the key section of the audio:
O'REILLY: Hi Gaeton, Bill O'Reilly.
O'REILLY: Look, something definitely did happen.
INVESTIGATOR: Yeah, I got it.
O'REILLY: What is it?
INVESTIGATOR: He committed suicide up here in – where I was trying to locate him.
O'REILLY: OK, where is that?
INVESTIGATOR: It's a place called Manalapan. M-A-N-A-L-A-P-A-N. Palm Beach County. […]
O'REILLY: OK, so he committed suicide, he's dead?
O'REILLY: OK, what time?
INVESTIGATOR: Late this afternon, I don't know.
O'REILLY: OK, gun?
INVESTIGATOR: I think, yeah, I think he said he shot himself.
O'REILLY: OK. Ah, Jesus Christ.
Media Matters captured the segment below:
Needless to say, there is little explanation for O'Reilly seeking all of the details of the suicide if he witnessed it himself.
More Scandals On the Horizon?
O'Reilly's tall tales about his reporting continue to be unearthed. The latest involves the 1992 LA riots. O'Reilly has claimed that while reporting about those events, he was attacked by rioters. But several of his former colleagues at Inside Edition say what really happened was he arrived at the scene of a smoldering neighborhood in a limousine and a man confronted him angrily over his behavior (O'Reilly reportedly asked “Don't you know who I am?”).
With several career milestones called into question, O'Reilly has been on the defensive, with his network calling the reporting on his past history an “orchestrated campaign by far left advocates.” As cable's most-watched news pundit, O'Reilly is in a precarious spot. Being called on his lies may point his career in the only direction it has left to go: down.