Ah, here we are again.
For the second time in less than a month, a journalist is under fire for fabricating personal accounts of experiences in war.
Bill O’Reilly, the polarizing host of Fox News’ ‘The O’Reilly Factor,” is being challenged by seven fellow journalists on his account of a 1982 riot in Argentina. The contradictions have come after Mother Jones, a liberal-leaning magazine, first reported on O’Reilly’s claims about his coverage of the Falklands War. O’Reilly was a young reporter for CBS News at the time, and he was assigned to cover the war from Buenos Aires – more than 1,000 miles from the offshore conflict zone.
O’Reilly described the area as a “war zone” and a “combat situation” and also stated that his cameraman was injured in the fray.
One CBS cameraman who was working in Buenos Aires at the same time as O’Reilly claimed that “Nobody remembers this happening.” A sound engineer for worked for CBS in Argentina also said he was on the crew and does not recall O’Reilly’s version of events.
O’Reilly has also continuously referred to his experiences in “the war zone” and has also repeatedly defended his claims, even going so far as to calling out one of his detractors and questioning whether he was even in Argentina at the time of the war.
This incident is no different than the one Brian Williams is currently involved in. Fox News should do their part and investigate these claims to see if O’Reilly’s accounts are true, and if they are found to have been fabricated, O’Reilly should be punished, just as Williams was.
Lying – and continuing to lie – over the course of more than thirty years is a violation of journalistic integrity. It’s not as though O’Reilly hasn’t been violating journalistic integrity for years now, but this time it’s something he can and should receive real punishment for.
O’Reilly should be suspended immediately while Fox investigates the validity of his claims about his time in Argentina. It will be very interesting to see whether the organization chooses to do the right thing and discipline one of its most notable and successful personalities.