Joe Strupp at Media Matters got yet another of Bill O’Reilly’s former colleagues from CBS News to talk about the Fox News host’s alleged “combat situation” coverage in Buenos Aires during the Falklands War, calling his description of his reporting “absurd.”
Even back then, O’Reilly’s colleagues thought he was “grandstanding”. From Media Matters:
Charles Krause, a CBS News correspondent from 1980 to 1983 who reported from Buenos Aires during the same period as O’Reilly, is the latest to contradict the Fox News host. In an interview with Media Matters, Krause called O’Reilly’s descriptions of his reporting “absurd.”
He also recalls O’Reilly being there for a short period of time and not having “any significant role in our coverage of the war.”
“I don’t recall him doing any major story that anybody remembers and he was there a very short time, then he was recalled, I don’t know why,” Krause said. “He wasn’t a team player and people thought he was grandstanding, basically.”
Yes, that sounds like our Bill O’Reilly. He has never been known as a team player by people inside the industry.
Krause joins the half a dozen journalists and personnel from CBS who were working with O’Reilly in Buenos Aires and who dispute his claims. O’Reilly has countered reality with two Fox personalities vouching for him and calling David Corn names, which says more about how Fox conducts itself and its standards than it does about reality.
This morning, Fox News issued a statement standing behind the embattled host.
O’Reilly wasn’t anywhere near the actual war, but he has tried to turn a protest a thousand plus miles away into a “combat situation” in order to justify repeatedly claiming to have reported from “on the ground” in a war zone. His colleagues who were there dispute this description.
Kraue told Media Matters that the reporters were not in any danger, “The only danger that we were in was we were staying at the Sheraton Hotel, which was this massive, modern tower overlooking the city. We were in no danger whatsoever.”
Also, in spite of O’Reilly’s bombastic descriptions of an injured cameraman — “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” — Media Matters reports, “Krause also said he does not recall any CBS cameraman being injured and bleeding.”
Krause isn’t alone in this. Former CBS correspondent Eric Engberg, who was in Buenos Aires with O’Reilly, told CNN host Brian Stelter on Sunday, “It wasn’t a combat situation by any sense of the word that I know. There were no people killed. He said that he saw troops fire into the crowd. I never saw that, and I don’t know anybody who did, and I was there on the scene. What’s interesting is not only did I not hear any shots, I didn’t see any ambulances. I didn’t see any tanks. I didn’t see any armored cars. All of the things that you would have expected to see had people been shot.”
So no one else who was there covering the conflict from Buenos Aires can corroborate O’Reilly’s claims. In fact, they do the opposite.
Even if he had been involved in a violent protest, a protest is not “an active war zone.” A protest is not “on the ground” in an “active war zone.” This statement alone is evidence of O’Reilly’s mischaracterization of himself as a war correspondent who covered the Falklands War “on the ground” from “combat” situation and war zone.
Update 12:52 PM: Bill O’Reilly’s only defense just fell apart. Bill Meislin is now disputing Bill O’Reilly’s version of his report from The Times that he read on the air on Sunday, writing on Facebook, “Bill O’Reilly cut out an important phrase when he read excerpts of my report from The Times on air Sunday to back up his claim that Buenos Aires was a “war zone” the night after Argentina surrendered to Britain in the Falklands war.” So dies the “report” conservatives have been desperately hawking as proof that O’Reilly wasn’t lying.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.