O'Reilly: Swift Boat Veterans never said Kerry “lied”

FOX News Channel host and radio host Bill O'Reilly does not seem to have been paying attention to anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's accusations about Senator John Kerry's (D-MA) military service in Vietnam. Despite a flurry of media stories proving otherwise, O'Reilly erroneously claimed that members of the Swift Boat Veterans have not accused the senator of lying.

Speaking to a caller on the August 23 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, O'Reilly described the anti-Kerry group's accusations as follows:

I think what they're doing is they're saying that in their experience, Kerry did X, Y, and Z. It's very -- it's nuanced [caller's name]. They don't say, “Well, he -- he lied about this.” They say, “I didn't see any firing.” Or, “I didn't see any Viet Cong.”

The following are some examples of Swift Boat Veterans members accusing Kerry of lying about his service in Vietnam.

From the first ad sponsored by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which was narrated by members of the group:

  • Al French: "He is lying about his record."

  • Louis Letson: “I know John Kerry is lying about his first Purple Heart, because I treated him for that injury.”

  • Van Odell: "John Kerry lied to get his bronze star. I know. I was there. I saw what happened."

  • Grant Hibbard: “He betrayed all his shipmates. He lied before the senate.”

From Swift Boat Veterans for Truth members' media appearances and interviews:

  • John E. O'Neill: "He lied about a war record in Vietnam, and he lied about his record in Vietnam, and we, more than anyone else in the world, we have the right to speak out about that record because we bought it with our blood and our service." [CBS, Early Show, 8/20 (video clip)]

  • Larry Thurlow: “I'm not quibbling about the award. I'm saying he lied about the account.” [MSNBC, Hardball, 8/19]

  • John E. O'Neill: "It's a lie he's told over and over and over again. It libels everybody that commanded him. It's the typical prototype sort of war crime charge that John Kerry makes that is a lie." [MSNBC, Scarborough Country, 8/10]

  • Bob Elder: "[W]e believe he grossly exaggerated and even lied about some of the circumstances under which certain awards were given to him." [CNN, American Morning, 8/6]