Bill O’Reilly Claims Argentine Soldier Pointed M-16 At His Head
In a recent CNN segment, Bill O’Reilly’s relationship with the truth became even more estranged. CNN played a video from 2008, of Bill O’Reilly describing his supposed experience while covering the 1982 Falklands War in Argentina. In the video, O’Reilly comes off like a schmuck, impugning his CBS colleagues. then describes an improbable sequence of his own personal heroism. He claims anti-war demonstrators were shot dead in front of him, which seven of his former CBS colleagues deny, and his story culminates with a young soldier pointing an M-16 at his head, as O’Reilly cavalierly instructs him, in horribly pronounced Spanish, not to shoot. With his colleagues vocally ganging up on him to protect their journalistic credibility, it becomes increasingly clear that O’Reilly has no regard for the truth, credibility or journalistic integrity. He only wants to weave an improbable yarn about how amazing he is, by putting down everyone else. If Fox News won’t fire him for this, they really should change the name of the network to what we all know it is: Fox Propaganda.
In the clip from 2008, played recently on CNN, O’Reilly says,
“I get a call from the CBS bureau chief to say, ‘O’Reilly get down there.’ Great. I’m down there, I got my two crews. So I’m looking around: where are the other CBS correspondents? I didn’t see anybody. Okay, maybe they’re busy, maybe they’re on the other side of the Casa Rosata, I don’t know where they are. So anyway, all hell breaks loose. People start to storm the Casa Rosata. The Argentine troops start to shoot the people down, in the street. Just shoot them down, it’s not like rubber bullets or gas. It’s: people are dying, all right. So anyway, I get my crew, and I grab my crew away, and we’re down a side street, and we’re shooting all this stuff. It’s unbelievable: I mean, people, just falling, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing. A soldier runs down the street. I’m there. Photographer gets trampled. All right, so he’s on the ground. I grab him and the camera and drag them into a doorway. The soldier comes up and he’s standing, maybe ten feet away. He’s got the M-16 pointed at my head. I thought it was over. And I said, ‘Periodista, no dispare.’ That means, ‘Journalist, don’t shoot.’ ‘Por favor.’ Guy was about, I don’t know, 18, 19 years old. He didn’t shoot me.”
On CNN, O’Reilly’s former CBS colleague, Eric Engberg, says,
“I did not see that happen, I didn’t see anything like that happen. I don’t know of any American foreign correspondent who had a weapon pointed at him. But the important thing is, I didn’t hear any gunfire. Not only did I not hear any gunfire, as I say, I didn’t hear any sirens. I came to Argentina, from years of experience in Washington, covering anti-war demonstrations, against the Vietnam War, in Washington. And I saw more violence in anti-war demonstrations in DC than I saw in Argentina that night. It was over quickly, it was over within two hours. And, the people did not try to storm the Casa Rosata, they were held back by troops standing there. You can see them in the video. They did not tangle with those troops. They did not try to crash into the building. And, it was really a fairly minor incident. It did result in the downfall of that government, but it was ready to go anyway.”
The CNN anchor then points to a New York Times story that described pistol shots fired over the head of protesters. Engberg says he didn’t hear it, but points out there is a big difference between firing over the heads of people and firing at them so that they fall dead to the ground.
In the same CNN interview, O’Reilly claimed, in a clip from a different context, that his colleagues were “hiding.” This conveniently makes O’Reilly the only person who can corroborate his story. Engberg describes O’Reilly’s statement as “a fabrication; a lie.” Engberg alleges that O’Reilly tried to hog all the credit for reporting, and initially refused to share his video with Bob Schieffer, whom O’Reilly allegedly referred to as, “this old man.” Engberg says the CBS supervisor in Buenos Aires, Larry Doyle, “wrestled” O’Reilly’s tape away from him. He then angrily told O’Reilly “you don’t belong here,” and “took steps” to have O’Reilly sent home from Argentina.
If Engberg’s version of the story is true, then Bill O’Reilly’s tales of improbably adventure are not merely embellishments of what happened. They are a completely concocted narrative meant to cover up the alleged fact that he did his job miserably, humiliated himself, and was disciplined harshly for it. If true, his ego is either too big to acknowledge his mistake and it loosens his grasp on reality, or he effortlessly makes up scenarios that have no bearing on reality. Either way, his status as the lead “journalist” on Fox “News” should have even Fox’s loyal audience scratching their head about what, exactly, Bill O’Reilly is doing working in the media.
Feature image via screencap of CNN clip.
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Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.