Fox News host Bill O’Reilly devoted his “Talking Points Memo” opening commentary to criticizing those who have questioned the veracity of his claims about his experience in supposed war zones. It all began with an article on Mother Jones that claimed O’Reilly “has his own Brian Williams problem.” The article claims, among other things, that O’Reilly’s repeated references to his coverage of the Falklands war “don’t withstand scrutiny.” David Corn and Daniel Schulman say that O’Reilly has repeatedly claimed that he “survived a combat situation in Argentina during the Falklands war,” when, in fact, no U.S. journalists were even in the islands and covered the story from Buenos Aires. The capital of Argentina is around 1,200 miles from the Falklands.
In his response, O’Reilly dusts off two memos from the time that praised his reporting for CBS News. He also directly targets Corn:
So we have rock solid proof that David Corn smeared me and some websites that picked up his defamation did as well.
Now I had to spend hours last night on the phone with various reporters and crawling around my basement covered with dust to find documents from 33 years ago. Again, it was a miracle I found them.
All because an irresponsible guttersnipe—a far left zealot—who has attacked Fox News many times before spit this stuff out on the net.
And you know what? Nothing is going to happen to David Corn. Mother Jones, and the far left websites, couldn’t care less about the truth. They are in business to injure. This is a political hit job.
Hardly the one to let O’Reilly have the last word, Corn wrote an annotated version of O’Reilly’s commentary for Mother Jones. Corn writes that the memos O’Reilly displayed in his show don’t actually prove anything because “no one has suggested that O’Reilly and his crew did not perform well while covering a protest that turned ugly.” The problem was his characterization of a violent protest as a war zone. “In a way,” writes Corn, “it’s impossible to win a debate with O’Reilly because he is not bound by reality.”