The Radio Factor

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  • Another Fabrication: O'Reilly Never Witnessed The Murder Of Nuns In El Salvador

    O'Reilly's Claim To Have Seen Nuns "Shot In The Back Of The Head" Contradicted By His Own Timeline

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

    Bill O'Reilly has claimed repeatedly that he witnessed the execution of nuns while reporting in 1981 on the civil war in El Salvador, an apparent fabrication that is at odds with both history and what O'Reilly himself has said about arriving in the country after the event took place, according to new information unearthed by Media Matters.

    The Fox host has faced withering scrutiny from historians, former colleagues, and others for having exaggerated his claims of being in a "combat situation" during the Falklands War.

    O'Reilly's El Salvador Fabrication Revealed

    Between 1980 and 1992, a civil war raged in El Salvador between the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) and the government of El Salvador. On December 2, 1980, four members of the Salvadoran national guard raped and shot "three American nuns and a layworker." The tragedy ''did more to inflame the debate over El Salvador in the United States than any other single incident,'' according to a 1993 State Department report. After the death of Silvia Arriola, a member of a religious order killed six weeks after those four churchwomen, "no priests or nuns were killed in El Salvador for more than eight years," according to Dr. Anna Lisa Peterson, a professor of religion at the University of Florida.

    O'Reilly has spoken on several occasions about his time covering the Salvadoran civil war as a CBS correspondent in 1981, suggesting at least twice that he witnessed the murder of the churchwomen. On the September 27, 2005, edition of his talk-radio program The Radio Factor, O'Reilly said, "I've seen guys gun down nuns in El Salvador." And on the December 14, 2012, edition of his Fox News show, O'Reilly spoke of telling his mother that "I was in El Salvador and I saw nuns get shot in the back of the head."

    However, O'Reilly could not possibly have witnessed the murder of the churchwomen if his own timeline is to be believed. The former CBS correspondent only arrived in El Salvador in 1981, as he mentioned on the February 22, 2002, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, saying (according to Nexis transcript), "Before I went to El Salvador in 1981, I talked with some experienced Latin American experts, people who had seen the brutal wars down there for themselves. I had never been in a war zone before, so I wanted some prep."

  • O'Reilly latest to advance UAW pay falsehood

    ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

    On his radio and television shows, Bill O'Reilly advanced the falsehood that "the average autoworker now makes 70 bucks an hour." In fact, a recent Barclays Capital analysis reportedly found that the average U.S. autoworker is paid "an average of $55 an hour in wages and benefits."

  • O'Reilly falsely asserted Holder "ordered" wall between CIA and FBI

    ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly advanced the falsehood that a 1995 memo written by then-Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick prohibited intelligence-sharing between the FBI and the CIA, thereby causing the intelligence failures that led to the 9-11 attacks, and asserted that Eric Holder, along with Janet Reno and Gorelick, "said that the CIA and the FBI couldn't talk to each other on investigative matters." In fact, the Gorelick memo had no impact on communications between the FBI and the CIA, the Department of Defense, or any other agencies.

  • CNN global warming misinformation makes its way to The Radio Factor


    On The Radio Factor, guest host Douglas Urbanski cited a December 18 segment from CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight to support the assertion, which has been widely discredited, that "man-made climate change" is "one of the biggest lies of our time" and in doing so echoed several of the debunked claims and suggestions about global warming included in that CNN segment.

  • On The Radio Factor, Chicago Trib.'s Kass falsely claimed Rezko's wife "b[ought] the Obama dream house"

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    On The Radio Factor, John Kass falsely claimed that Rita Rezko, wife of Antoin Rezko, "b[ought] the Obama dream house" in what Kass called "that shady real estate deal." In addition, Kass, who was also featured on ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News in reports about the scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich, suggested to Bill O'Reilly that President-elect Barack Obama must be tainted by corruption because he comes from Chicago.

  • O'Reilly falsely claimed Army Field Manual "bans any questioning that would make a suspect uncomfortable"


    On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly claimed that "[t]he Army Field Manual bans any questioning that would make a suspect uncomfortable in any way," echoing his previous assertion that "[t]here is no interrogation under the manual. No unpleasantness." In fact, the Army Field Manual includes an entire section on "Interrogation Operations," as well as a chapter listing and describing "Approach Techniques and Termination Strategies" for use in interrogations of detainees, including several techniques intended to make detainees "uncomfortable."

  • Attacking Media Matters, O'Reilly falsely claimed he said "Coleman's victory was certified by the state ... which is absolutely true" -- but it's not


    Attacking Media Matters on his radio show for noting that his previous claim that Sen. Norm Coleman "was certified the winner" in the Minnesota Senate race was false, Bill O'Reilly repeated the falsehood, claiming: "[W]hat I said was, Coleman's victory was certified by the state because it was. He had 215 more votes, which is absolutely true." In fact, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board did not "certif[y]" a "victory" for Coleman or Al Franken, having authorized an automatic recount of ballots for that race; Minnesota election law states that "no certificate of election shall be prepared or delivered until after the recount is completed."

  • O'Reilly suggested that without Prop 8, "a man can have 27 wives"; CA Supreme Court disagrees

    ››› ››› LILY YAN

    While discussing the campaign for Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage in California, Bill O'Reilly asserted that if states allow same-sex couples to marry they would be required, "under equal protection," to allow polygamous marriages. In fact, the California Supreme Court explicitly stated that its May 15 decision that California's ban on same-sex marriage violated the state's constitution did not extend to polygamous marriages.

  • Dismissing fundraiser and ignoring McCain's appearances on radio show, O'Reilly claimed "McCain has nothing to do with G. Gordon Liddy"

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Speaking with a caller to his radio show who noted that Sen. John McCain "accepted money" from G. Gordon Liddy, and that Liddy "held a fundraiser for him in 1998," Bill O'Reilly declared that "McCain has nothing to do with G. Gordon Liddy -- nothing," and added that comparing the ties between McCain and Liddy that the caller referenced with Sen. Barack's Obama's ties to Bill Ayers is "ridiculous." However, in addition to the connections the caller referenced, McCain has repeatedly appeared on Liddy's radio show during the presidential campaign, and McCain recently said that he was "not in any way embarrassed to know Gordon Liddy."

  • O'Reilly falsely claimed Obama did not vote to condemn attacks on Petraeus and Kerry

    ››› ››› LILY YAN

    On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly falsely stated that Sen. Barack Obama did not cast a vote on a Senate amendment denouncing both an ad by that targeted Gen. David Petraeus and "Swift Boat" attacks on Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). In fact, Obama voted in favor of an amendment sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) that denounced the ad and character attacks on Kerry, former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA), and other veterans.

  • Media conservatives baselessly blame Community Reinvestment Act for foreclosure spike


    Several conservatives in the media have recently blamed the Community Reinvestment Act for the current financial crisis -- when, in fact, the CRA does not apply to institutions making the vast majority of troubled loans underlying the crisis. It applies only to depository institutions, such as banks and savings and loan associations. Experts have estimated that 80 percent of high-priced subprime loans were offered by financial institutions that are not subject to the CRA.