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Bill O'Reilly and Media Horseradish

Christopher Ruddy By Monday, 02 March 2015 12:26 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

As a child, my dad was rather strict. We were not even allowed to swear as kids — so expletives don’t come easily to my tongue. But as I watch the media jihad against Bill O’Reilly, I can certainly think of some choice expletives about the coverage.

For the sake of being polite today, and respecting my late dad, let’s simply describe the attacks on Bill as nothing more than horseradish.

When you look at the recent accusations that Fox News host Bill O'Reilly fabricated or embellished reports about his journalistic work — when you examine them more closely — it is clear they are much ado about nothing.

The liberal media's rant against O’Reilly started when Mother Jones published a story on Feb. 19 questioning O'Reilly's claims to have reported from a “war zone” in Argentina during the 1982 Falklands War.

But O'Reilly fired back immediately, saying on "The O'Reilly Factor" that he never claimed to have been present at the fighting on the Falkland Islands. Never. He had indeed covered what he called a dangerous riot in Buenos Aires in which the military fired on protesters.

Since this Mother Jones report, several colleagues have backed up O'Reilly's story, including former NBC News Central and South America Bureau chief Don Browne.

"There were tanks in the streets. It was a country at war," Brown said. "The military were losing badly; the populous began to turn on the military leadership. It was a very intense situation where people got hurt."

Video from CBS News' broadcast from 1982 also backed up O'Reilly's story that the protests were met with violence, and gunfire can be heard on the tape.That puts O'Reilly close enough to the Falkland conflict, in my mind, to consider him in a war zone area.

Then the liberal media watchdog Media Matters claimed that O'Reilly was not in El Salvador when he claimed to have witnessed the murder of four American nuns during a civil war in that Central American country.

But O'Reilly made no such claim of personally witnessing the killings.

He told Mediaite that he was trying to make a point about how ordinary people cannot comprehend unspeakable evil. He said that while on the ground in El Salvador he was referring to seeing images of the nuns being shot. He was not claiming to have personally witnessed the violence. Nothing he said suggests he personally saw the killings.

"While in El Salvador, reporters were shown horrendous images of violence that were never broadcast, including depictions of nuns who were murdered," O'Reilly said. "The mention of the nuns on my program came the day of the Newtown massacre [on Dec. 14, 2012]. The segment was about evil and how hard it is for folks to comprehend it.

"I used the murdered nuns as an example of that evil. That's what I am referring to when I say, 'I saw nuns get shot in the back of the head.' No one could possibly take that segment as reporting on El Salvador."

Now the latest from the jihad against O'Reilly: Several former colleagues have charged that O'Reilly exaggerated a story about being attacked while covering the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which a Fox News spokesman dismissed as "nothing more than an orchestrated campaign by far left advocates."

So why the targeting now of O’Reilly on very flimsy accusations?

For one thing, media outlets and liberal groups are upset about conservatives' criticism of NBC anchor Brian Williams.

Williams admitted his claim that he was in a helicopter that was forced down after being hit by a rocket in Iraq was erroneous, blaming "the fog of memory over 12 years" for the mistake.

In my book, NBC's decision to suspend Williams for six months went too far, although he clearly went beyond anything O'Reilly said about his experiences.

Perhaps the O’Reilly brouhaha is a case of professional jealousy at work.

David Corn, who wrote the Mother Jones story, is a former Fox News contributor who didn't have his contract renewed, according to Joe Concha, columnist for Mediaite and host of "The Daily Wrap" on Newsmax TV.

O'Reilly has also been at the very pinnacle of cable news for so long — more than 15 years — it must infuriate his detractors.

He has also become a fantastically successful best-selling author. His latest, "Killing Patton," is currently No. 6 on The New York Times list of best-selling nonfiction books.

Then there is the fact that O'Reilly has always been somewhat of a maverick who doesn't play the establishment media game. But the attacks on his credibility have gone far enough. Some attacks are so ridiculous they are close to joke status.

After presenting video evidence to back up his reporting on one of the so-called fabricated stories, O'Reilly told viewers of his cable show: "I want to stop this now. I hope we can stop it. I really do."

Yes, stop all of this horseradish.

Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.


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The liberal media's rant against O’Reilly started when Mother Jones published a story on Feb. 19 questioning O'Reilly's claims to have reported from a “war zone” in Argentina during the 1982 Falklands War.
oreilly, bias, media, brian williams
Monday, 02 March 2015 12:26 PM
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