I have been trying to avoid the Bill O’Reilly story. It’s tough to keep away. It’s compelling. He’s compelling.
I don’t think he’s been telling the truth.
Let accept one fact first: On-the-air O’Reilly is masterful.
There are few, maybe none, who do what he does better. It disappoints me we’re usually on the opposite side of his political arguments, but that doesn’t take away his TV talents.
Did O’Reilly lie or strongly exaggerate when he talked about his experience in the Falklands War? Yes. I have no doubt.
Did he stretch the truth when in his book “Killing Kennedy” he claimed:
As the reporter knocked on the door of de Mohrenschildt’s daughter’s home, he heard the shotgun blast that marked the suicide of the Russian, assuring that his relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald would never be fully understood.
By the way, that reporter’s name is Bill O’Reilly.
Again. the evidence indicates Bill’s version doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
Should he be punished? Brian Williams certainly was for his exaggerations and self inflating fiction.
I wish the O’Reilly answer was a resounding yes, but I’m not so sure. As someone who was harshly punished, I know it doesn’t always fit the crime.
Don’t we all inflate our resume just a little? Have you ever embellished a story to make it better? It’s not like O’Reilly made this stuff up out of whole cloth. He almost did those things he’s claimed… almost.
If O’Reilly does get smacked around it will be because he pushed back too hard. Instead of apologizing or backtracking he mounted attacks against the original reporter of the story and a New York Times reporter later trying to advance it.
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.”
That’s pretty low.
Bill O’Reilly was once sued for sexual harassment. He claimed, as he does now, to be innocent. He said he would fight the charges. In the end he quietly settled for millions.
I’ll be interested to see this play out.