As Bill O’Reilly continues to defend his use of the term “war zone” to describe his coverage of the Falklands War while he was actually 1,200 miles away from the war itself, in Buenos Aires, he is now resorting to threats.
In a recent interview with New York Times reporter Emily Steel, O’Reilly told her that there would be repercussions if she wrote anything he felt was untoward or inappropriate. And just in case his threat wasn’t clear enough to the reporter, O’Reilly went ahead and clarified his statement by saying it was an actual threat.
But it seems the Times took O’Reilly’s threat as a challenge, as it had what was probably the opposite effect of what O’Reilly wanted, reporting his threat word-for-word.
“Mr. O’Reilly’s efforts to refute the claims by Mother Jones and some former CBS News colleagues occurred both on the air and off on Monday. During a phone conversation, he told a reporter for The New York Times that there would be repercussions if he felt any of the reporter’s coverage was inappropriate. ‘I am coming after you with everything I have,’ Mr. O’Reilly said. ‘You can take it as a threat.'”
It seems as though defending his own somewhat dubious history is really taking a toll on O’Reilly.
Bill O’Reilly’s problems began when, after delivering a blistering critique on Brian Williams, the journalist who was suspended after embellishing his own journalistic history, Mother Jones published an article highlighting O’Reilly’s own rather dubious history as a self-professed “war correspondent.” O’Reilly has often used what he called his time in a war zone to separate himself from other, lesser reporters.
“I’ve been there. That’s really what separates me from most of these other bloviators. I bloviate, but I bloviate about stuff I’ve seen. They bloviate about stuff that they haven’t.”
After the publication of the article in Mother Jones, some of O’Reilly’s former CBS colleagues also began to call O’Reilly out for embellishment and fabrication.
“It wasn’t a combat situation by any sense of the word that I know,” Eric Engberg, who worked for CBS for 26 years, said. “[O’Reilly] is trying to build it up into a more frightening and deadly situation than it was.”
In response, O’Reilly called Engberg a coward.
It seems, though, that Bill O’Reilly has very little to lose except his pride and credibility in this situation, as Fox News, in stark contrast to the swift action NBC News took against Brian Williams, continues to support O’Reilly. His job seems still secure. Whereas NBC News opened an investigation against Williams after military veterans complained about his Iraq story, and then removed him from broadcast, in contrast, Fox News executives continue to defend Bill O’Reilly and combat conflicting reports.
“Fox News Chairman and C.E.O. Roger Ailes and all senior management are in full support of Bill O’Reilly,” a spokeswoman for Fox said in a statement.
What do you think? Has Bill O’Reilly lost his credibility? Should Fox News remove him from the air like NBC removed Brian Williams? Many believe Bill O’Reilly is getting only what he deserves, after lambasting one reporter for embellished reporting, while he himself is guilty of the same. For more on that, click here.