As I wrote about last week, Brian Williams from NBC news has himself in some ultra hot water, due to being caught in the middle of a lie regarding his reporting of the Persian Gulf War. Williams has now been suspended for six months by NBC and his career as a whole may be in serious jeopardy. Due to the fact that this story stayed in the national media for quite some time, it seems as if it lead other news outlets to question the honesty and integrity of other well known faces of news.
They looked no further than controversial conservative Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. O’Reilly was originally accused by Mother Jones magazine for false reporting saying he was in the middle of the Falklands ware in 1982, when actually he was in Buenos Aires which is over 1,400 miles from where the confrontation was taking place.
After some staunch denial from O’Reilly as well as Fox News, the New York Times also chimed in and did some reporting of their own. In the midst of this reporting, they attempted to reach out to O’Reilly for comments on the issue. Mr. O’Reilly was not exactly pleased regarding the line of questioning, and handed out a rather serious threat to the New York Times reporter. Saying that if the coverage was in appropriate that he would
Come at you with every thing I have. You can take that as a threat.
Needless to stay, that comment fanned the flames of the media firestorm. Soon to be retiring John Steward of the Daily Show came up with an incredible quote.
Let’s face it, nobody watches Bill O’Reilly for the truth.
Of course, once the first allegations came out, there were plenty more to follow. Not only does Mr. O’Reilly have his own television show on Fox News, but also has written plenty of best selling books regarding the deaths of famous people, including Lincoln, Kennedy, Patton and even Jesus. I can say that I have read them all, and especially enjoyed Killing Lincoln, his first in the series. Why this is important is that there was a part of Killing Kennedy in which O’Reilly states he was there in person for the suicide of George de Mohrenschildt, who was known to be friendly with Kennedy’s killer, Lee Harvey Oswald. O’Reilly stated in the book that he was there in Florida knocking at the door when the man committed suicide. The site, Media Matters, after some investigation speaking with many colleagues came to the conclusion that it was impossible that O’Reilly was in Florida at the time as he was working as a newspaper reporter in Dallas at the time. It is thought that O’Reilly did travel to Florida after learning of the suicide to attempt to come up with some information, but that goes directly against what O’Reilly stated in his book.
What will come out of this, who knows? However, taking such an offensive stance and threatening reporters probably isn’t the best strategy. It makes you wonder if the floodgates will now open with other stories, not just about O’Reilly but other members of the news as well. I will say that it causes me to want to question just about everything I see on the news at this point.