The Mainstream Media Sides With Fox News By Refusing To Investigate Bill O’Reilly’s War Lies


What does it take to cause Bill O’Reilly to call you a “far-left assassin,” “disgusting piece of garbage,” and a “guttersnipe liar”?

Quoting his own words back to him and asking for clarification. Followed up with more colorful language like, “(V)erify what I’m saying, because it’s easily verifiable, then I expect David Corn to be in the kill zone.”

When asked why the Fox News host did not respond to questions from Mother Jones’ Washington bureau chief and slayer of liars David Corn, O’Reilly blasted:

“Because David Corn is a guttersnipe liar,” O’Reilly told the Erik Wemple Blog tonight. “Is that clear enough? For years he’s been trying to get Fox News. I would never speak to the man about anything at any time. He’s a disgusting piece of garbage.”

This doesn’t answer the question. This points fingers at Corn – with no facts, by the way – and dodges the questions. The questions Corn asked were not unfair. They were based on quotes by O’Reilly himself.

Instead of examining the quotes, the media is doing the he said/she said thing that’s ruining our political process. Here’s some of the research done by the team of David Corn and Daniel Schulman at Mother Jones (my bold and my comments in parentheses, in order to demonstrate that it’s not hard to determine if what O’Reilly has claimed is accurate or not):

• In his 2001 book, The No Spin Zone: Confrontations With the Powerful and Famous in America, O’Reilly stated, “You know that I am not easily shocked. I’ve reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands.” (This is not true, and “on the ground” disputes O’Reilly’s claims that he was referring to covering the Falklands War from 1,000 miles away.)
• Conservative journalist Tucker Carlson, in a 2003 book, described how O’Reilly answered a question during a Washington panel discussion about media coverage of the Afghanistan war: “Rather than simply answer the question, O’Reilly began by trying to establish his own bona fides as a war correspondent. ‘I’ve covered wars, okay? I’ve been there. The Falklands, Northern Ireland, the Middle East. I’ve almost been killed three times, okay.'” (Nope. The Falklands are 1,000 miles away from where O’Reilly and the rest of the CBS crew were.)
• In a 2004 column about US soldiers fighting in Iraq, O’Reilly noted, “Having survived a combat situation in Argentina during the Falklands war, I know that life-and-death decisions are made in a flash.” (OK, this one is a stretch but could pass if by “combat situation” he means combat-like, but if Hillary Clinton said this, Fox News would hyperventilate in outrage.)
• In 2008, he took a shot at journalist Bill Moyers, saying, “I missed Moyers in the war zones of [the] Falkland conflict in Argentina, the Middle East, and Northern Ireland. I looked for Bill, but I didn’t see him.” (That’s probably because you weren’t there, Bill O’Reilly. Just sayin’.)

And here is where O’Reilly gets detailed and claims to be in the actual Falklands according to a quote gathered by Mother Jones from April 2013, “I was in a situation one time, in a war zone in Argentina, in the Falklands, where my photographer got run down and then hit his head and was bleeding from the ear on the concrete. And the army was chasing us. I had to make a decision. And I dragged him off, you know, but at the same time, I’m looking around and trying to do my job, but I figure I had to get this guy out of there because that was more important.”

The Mother Jones article has many, many more quotes. Quotes that make Brian Williams’ memories look like a tape recorder. O’Reilly loves to present himself falsely as a war correspondent who’s been in the middle of combat. (This might explain the right wing love of war.)

O’Reilly has repeatedly described a protest in Buenos Aires as “combat” and has used it as proof of his war correspondent bona fides. A protest scene, scary or not, is not the same thing as a war combat zone.

We are, as humans, prone to embellishment and story telling. But if you describe your job as being a “truth teller”, and as a journalist you understand the importance of accuracy (the more accurate we try to be about reality the cleaner our perceptions and conclusions tend to be), you don’t conflate being frightened by tear gas in a protest with being in an actual war combat zone. It’s even more bizarre to do this as someone claiming to respect our troops. (This does bring up an interesting point in that by O’Reilly’s own standards, Occupy protesters can claim to have been in “combat”.)

The media so far is not giving O’Reilly the Brian Williams treatment. The same people who fell repeatedly for James O’Keefe’s edited videos are not biting at a searing expose by the King of Actual Video (Corn is the person who published the Mitt Romney 47% tape).

It isn’t that once right always right, it’s that Corn has a history of being careful and accurate. O’Reilly does not. James O’Keefe did not. Discernment is worth something and should be employed. Not all left leaning journalists are careful and accurate. But Corn is.

Fox News has long benefited from special treatment by the mainstream media due to its long arm of power. They’re in the club. The real club. The big, corporate, global club. This is why when the Obama White House scoffed that Fox News was not news, the media were outraged and circled the wagons around the cable network that had sued for the right to lie and call it news.

This might be why the media is trying hard to pretend they don’t see the increasingly heavy smoke billowing over Bill O’Reilly.

19 Replies to “The Mainstream Media Sides With Fox News By Refusing To Investigate Bill O’Reilly’s War Lies”

  1. in contact with many vets from northern ireland, we all want to know when and where billy boy was when he reported “The War” there, Never thought of N I in those days as a war, in the old sense, Ireland was a Terrorist situation, not a war.

  2. I would wish that the MSM was ignoring this because Fox “News” is not a real news outlet and therefore Bill O’Reilly’s book fabrications are ok. The truth is, they know better and should call out Bill O’Reilly’s lies as well as Fox “News'” constant lies, but will not because the MSM is corporate owned and hold the same plutocratic ideas as Fox’s ownership. It is why the MSM “journalists” never call out the Republicans on their own lies.

  3. Love David Corn for his calling outs and telling the truths.
    Seems like ol’ Billy boy can dish it out big time , but can’t take it when HE is on the other end. Just shows what an idiot the man is.
    This man really has an anger problem!

    Side note: Spouse and I invited to boss’ Christmas party a few years back. During the evening he gathered all his guests together as a group and thanked us for attending. But what came next …
    boss handed out a stack of Bill O’Reilly’s book to all his guests, spoke of “Billo” to the highest standards. We all hand to stand there at take the boss’ crapola on how wonderful Billo was.

  4. Maybe our friends at PoliticalGates can get on the story of Bill O’Reilly’s lies about being in “combat”, like they did with the covered-up story of the Geneva Ohio woman who traveled to Halifax, NS to plot that mall shoot-’em-up.

    They had details about her Neo-Nazi leanings and Hitler worship in only 2 days, from Friday last week when she was arrested, to Sunday when they uploaded a very detailed investigative blog post.

    Sic ’em on Bill O’Reilly.

  5. The reason that the mainstream media hasn’t gone after Bill O’Reilly is because he doesn’t have any credibility as a newsperson like Brian Williams. That he has embellished his past is not “news”. I realize the hypocrisy is completely annoying but The Spin Zone is entertainment not news.

  6. OK, let’s see if I got this right.

    Brian Williams gets busted for lying and has to sit out six months because he lied.

    O’Retard here has lied often and no one is going to do a thing because, I guess, pissing off Fox News is akin to pissing off a grizzly bear.

    What is wrong with this picture here? If Brian Williams has to sit out six months for lying to the people, so should O’Retard here. Fair is fair, you know.

  7. Don’t you know that the RWNJ don’t have to answer for their lies? That’s normal for them so no need to reply when the truth is revealed.

  8. Bill is another chickenhawk coward. One can say rightwingers are cowards all tough talk while hidding their tails between their legs. My uncle who fought in WW2 never met a chickenhawk who was ever in combat.

  9. Mother Jones To Bill-O: Apologize For Your Violent Remarks

    The editors-in-chief at Mother Jones have written a letter to Fox News requesting that Bill O’Reilly apologize for saying that journalist David Corn deserved to be “in the kill zone,” the On Media blog has learned.

    The letter comes one day after the Fox News host called Corn “a liar” and a “despicable guttersnipe” because of a report he wrote alleging that O’Reilly lied about his Falklands War experience. In one of several interviews with reporters, O’Reilly said that he expected Corn “to be in the kill zone. Where he deserves to be.”
    Read More

  10. Would like comments relating to our National Debt and the bad policy decisions that have created this problem . Factual answers could help drive better decisions by our leaders in Congress & the Executive Branch , not much chance but perhaps real answers can push people to think & move in the right direction to replace those at fault & their successors . Start with drug prohibition started in 1930’s , cost of incarceration ,loss of employment & family unity , judicial costs , prison costs , subsides paid by taxes to these long term affected families & long term effects to the offspring created by this fiasco of a policy decision . An example of cost ,I had an FBI agent address Rotary when I was president , he stated that the highest percentage that drug interdiction confiscated in any year was about 7% , Ron Paul stated that the US had spent more than a $Trillion on drug interdiction . We created the Drug Cartels in Mexico , Central & South America because of …

  11. For years David Corn has been one of the very few I have ANY respect for. The more we are seeing lately the more I am wondering about why Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart are leaving the only other shows we could look for the slightest bit of truth from.

  12. What’s to investigate? The military in charge of the Falklands said no American reporters were there. The other American journalists said Bill O’Reilly was right where they were: in a city hotel far from the war. There is no dispute about no American journalists being allowed in the war zone. That is fact and that is sufficient to prove O’Reilly was not there and is, in fact, a liar. There you go.

  13. What? You don’t have the courage or intelligence to argue your position on Bill O’Reilly to your husband’s boss?

  14. Dustin, you understand this is not a government imposed penalty?

    NBC News had every right to continue with a publicly humiliated, lying democrat advocate as their anchor…they made a business decision.

    Are you campaigning for MSNBC to suspend or fire the serial liar Rachel Maddow?

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