Are Bill O’Reilly’s misrepresentations of his reporting experience the same as Brian Williams’?

No Spin Zone?
No Spin Zone?
Image: AP/Jeff Christensen
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Mother Jones has reported that the Fox News host and conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly misrepresented his experiences as a correspondent in Argentina during the Falkland War in 1982.

According to the report, O’Reilly has said on multiple occasions that he has reported from war zones, and has referred to himself as a former war correspondent. He has also implied that he reported from the Falkland Islands, saying (vide0), “I was in a situation one time, in a war zone in Argentina, in the Falklands …”

O’Reilly never reported from the Falklands, and admits as such. Indeed, no American journalists made it there during the war. According to the Mother Jones reporting, the most perilous situation O’Reilly was in while based in Argentina was a protest in Buenos Aires in which he was teargassed and other journalists were injured.

But this protest, too, seems to have been misrepresented or misremembered by O’Reilly. In his book, The No Spin Zone, he wrote that “a major riot ensued and many were killed.” But accounts of the protest by CBS, The New York Times, The Miami Herald, and UPI do not mention any fatalities.

O’Reilly has responded in typical aggressive fashion, calling the Mother Jones piece “a bunch of garbage” and saying, “Everything I’ve reported about my career is true.”

This Mother Jones story, entitled “Bill O’Reilly Has His Own Brian Williams Problem,” comes in the wake of NBC’s suspension of the anchor Williams after it was exposed that he had claimed to have been riding in a helicopter that was hit by an RPG in Iraq, when really the helicopter that was hit was in front of the one Williams was in.

O’Reilly decried Williams’ behavior. But the Mother Jones piece—which Howard Kurtz at Fox News writes “turns on semantics”—raises questions about O’Reilly’s veracity.