Amid the controversy regarding whether or not Bill O’Reilly’s claims to have spent time in a combat zone during the Falklands War in 1982, CBS News released four archived stories from its coverage of the conflict yesterday.
O’Reilly’s involvement in CBS’s coverage came into focus last week after Mother Jones published an article questioning his statements claiming he reported from a “war zone” or “combat zone.”
MJ talked to several other CBS reporters who also covered the Falklands conflict and the protests in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They said that no member of the network’s news team actually made it to the Falklands, so any claim that O’Reilly made about being there were false. They also said the same of his claims that the protest he covered involved Argentine troops gunning down civilians.
“Here in the United States we would use tear gas and rubber bullets,” MJ reported O’Reilly said in a 2009 interview. “They were doing real bullets. They were just gunning these people down, shooting them in the street.”
And while the protest did turn violent and people were injured, no reports of the firing of real bullets were filed by media organizations at the time. In fact, they used exactly what O’Reilly said they hadn’t: rubber bullets and tear gas.
Argentine historian Federico G. Lorenz also told the Washington Post that he did not recall any fatalities from the protest.
“As far as I know, there were no people killed at the protests after the news of the Argentine surrendering arrived to [Buenos Aires]. There were incidents at May Square … and people slightly injured due to gasses and anti-riot munition, but not dead people. Press from June 15, 1982, reports about five busses burnt, ‘many detainees and injured people.’ One of the photographs shows precisely a wounded [person] lying surrounded by people.”
Had O’Reilly simply said that he had covered a protest that turned violent and people were injured, no one would be questioning his claims. Instead, he chose to embellish and outright lie about his experiences and, after nearly 33 years, those lies are finally catching up to him.
Click here to watch the newly re-released footage from CBS News.