In an interview with the New York Times Monday evening, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly personally threatened a reporter over the paper’s coverage of the controversy surrounding O’Reilly’s claims that he was in a war zone when he covered protests in Buenos Aires in 1982. O’Reilly has found himself mired in a scandal after Mother Jones released a report Thursday accusing the host of embellishing stories of his work as a correspondent for CBS in the 1980s. Over the past few days, O’Reilly has resorted to personal attacks and insults to defend himself as former colleagues have come forward and confirmed that the former Inside Edition exaggerated or outright lied about his experiences.
During the broadcast of The O’Reilly Factor Monday night, O’Reilly aired footage that he obtained for CBS regarding a protest in Buenos Aires that he covered for the network in 1982. O’Reilly has long contended the protest, which occurred in the aftermath of the end of the Falklands War, constituted a combat or war zone and that he witnessed extreme violence, including multiple people killed. He’s also claimed over the years that a soldier pointed a machine gun right in his face — at times, he’s said it was multiple soldiers — and he also saved the life of an injured photographer.
On his Monday night show, he aired the clips and stated he was totally vindicated by the video evidence. He also brought on a former NBC bureau chief to defend him and agree that the Argentinian protest constituted a combat zone during a time of war. O’Reilly also said that he hoped this can all stop now and that everyone can move on.
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of Fox News:
Of course, airing the video really did nothing to refute any of the allegations made against O’Reilly, and while he found one reporter who backed up his claims of being in a dangerous war zone, there is a growing number of former CBS colleagues and other reporters who dispute his accounts. Both The Guardian and Mother Jones pointed out Monday evening that the video clips from CBS at the time do not back up O’Reilly’s claims that multiple people were shot and killed during the protests, that he saved the life of a seriously injured photographer or that he was personally threatened by a soldier. Nor does the video evidence suggest that O’Reilly was in what can be considered a combat zone in a war-torn country.
As stated before, the Fox commentator has used bombastic rhetoric over the past few days as a way to discredit and attack those who are disputing his record as a CBS correspondent. Generally, he’s called anyone who questions his ‘war’ coverage a “far-left zealot” (a term he used again Monday night) and has personally attacked Mother Jones’ David Corn and former CBS colleague Eric Engberg. O’Reilly even suggested that Corn needs to be placed in the “kill zone.” He used that bullying tactic again Monday night with a Times reporter who interviewed him over the scandal.
Below is from the Times’ article:
Mr. O’Reilly’s efforts to refute the claims by Mother Jones and some former CBS News colleagues occurred both on the air and off on Monday. During a phone conversation, he told a reporter for The New York Times that there would be repercussions if he felt any of the reporter’s coverage was inappropriate. “I am coming after you with everything I have,” Mr. O’Reilly said. “You can take it as a threat.”
Times reporter Emily Steel confirmed on Twitter late Monday evening that she was the one that O’Reilly threatened. Even though Fox has noted that it has O’Reilly’s back during this controversy — a far cry from how NBC reacted to the Brian Williams fiasco — it appears that the Fox talking head is like a cornered rat and is lashing out in irrational and despicable ways. Seriously, threatening a reporter?
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).