First, Brian Williams. Now, Bill O’Reilly.
The host of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor Bill O’Reilly has on numerous occasions told his audience that he covered the 1982 conflict between England and Argentina in the Falkland war zone.
But only one American journalist reached the war zone, and it wasn’t Bill O’Reilly.
According to Bob Schieffer, who covered the Falkland war as CBS News’ lead correspondent, Robin Lloyd was the only American network correspondent to reach the islands when they were declared a warzone (Scheiffer was on the islands a week before the fighting erupted). Scheiffer’s memory of Lloyd’s trip is so clear because Scheiffer wanted the story so badly, “I remember because I got my butt scooped on that.”
The O’Reilly Factor isn’t the only time or place O’Reilly lied about being in the Falklands warzone.
A list compiled by Mother Jones details other instances when O’Reilly trumpeted his time as a war correspondent during the Falklands:
- 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.”
- 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.'”
- 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.”
- 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.”
What will be interesting to see in the coming weeks is not whether or not O’Reilly will be suspended by Fox News – like NBC suspended Brian Williams after embellishing a war story – but whether or not Veterans who watch O’Reilly’s show, and who actually fought in war zones, still trust him.