Snowballing O'Reilly Scandal: More Reporters and Witnesses Call Him Out for Lying About His Past

Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly is under a barrage of intense scrutiny following the revelation that he apparently lied about a number of high-profile reporting events in his career. These lies include claiming he witnessed a massacre of nuns in El Salvador, boasting that he saw combat taking place during the Falklands War, and stating that he was present at the suicide of a man sought during the JFK assassination investigation.


The scandal grew worse when clear evidence about at least two of these tall tales emerged. Video footage from Argentina showed Bill O'Reilly reporting there amid raucous protests – but none of the “combat zone” claims he made applied whatsoever to the report he filed. Then an audio tape that showed O'Reilly confirmed the suicide he had previously claimed to have witnessed with a congressional investigator, proving that he wasn't at the scene after all.

Media Matters talked to some of the lawyers and reporters who worked on the case of the murdered nuns in El Salvador, and they were outraged to see O'Reilly exploit the event:

"It's disgusting, it's reprehensible," said Patti Blum, an attorney who worked with the families on a civil case for the Center for Justice and Accountability. "To use the death of four women who were in El Salvador just to do good for your own self-aggrandizement is unsavory." […]

Charles Krause, a former CBS News reporter who said he flew in to El Salvador with the nuns and covered their murders for the network, called out Fox News for defending O'Reilly by claiming he has been the victim of dishonest critics.

"I am outraged by the McCarthy-like smear campaign Fox News is using to try to save its bloviator from oblivion by suggesting that anyone, anyone who corrects the record regarding O'Reilly is part of some leftwing conspiracy that's out to get him," he said via email. "There is no conspiracy, leftwing or otherwise, that I am part of or aware of."

Photographer Susan Meiselas, who was at the site when the nuns' bodies were exhumed and photographed them, told Media Matters, "for someone to pretend to have participated in that or witnessed it, it's outrageous."

Meanwhile, Jefferson Morley, a JFK expert, appeared on CNN last week to talk about O'Reilly's lie with respect to that event. “He's an entertainer, he's popular because of his point of view, but a lot of people listen to him....especially on something like this, Bill O'Reilly did not hear a gunshot from 1,200 miles away. He made the story up,” he concludes.

It appears that many within the reporting profession themselves are turning on O'Reilly over his tall tales. Yet the host has refused to even acknowledge his sins or apologize.

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