Seven of Bill O'Reilly's former CBS News colleagues who were with the Fox host in Buenos Aires have challenged his account of the riot he has recently come under fire for describing as a “combat situation.” As contradictions to O'Reilly's account of his 1982 reporting on the Falklands War build, O'Reilly has responded to critics with personal attacks.
After Mother Jones called into question O'Reilly's accounts of covering the Falklands War as a reporter for CBS News, which repeatedly created the impression he was in a combat zone, O'Reilly lobbed personal attacks at Mother Jones writers David Corn and Daniel Schulman. Calling Corn a “guttersnipe liar,” and a “disgusting piece of garbage,” O'Reilly denied the allegations and insisted the riot he covered in Buenos Aires was “certainly combat.”
But according to a February 22 CNN report, seven of O'Reilly's former CBS News colleagues who were present with him in Buenos Aires have also challenged his account of the riot as a “combat situation,” and his “description of a CBS cameraman being injured in the chaos”:
Did O'Reilly's photographer get “run down” and bloodied?
CNN has interviewed seven people who were there for CBS, and none of them recall anyone from the network being injured.
“If somebody got hurt, we all would have known,” Alvarez said.
In a Friday interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, O'Reilly said the photographer's last name was Moreno. Roberto Moreno was there for CBS. He now lives in Venezuela, and he declined to comment to CNN.
But Mia Fabius, who was the office manager for the CBS Miami bureau at the time, has stayed in touch with Moreno for decades, and she said Moreno has never spoken about any injury in Argentina.
Further, Fabius said no injury report was ever filed.
The former CBS journalists also contradicted O'Reilly's claim in his 2001 book that “many were killed” in the riot:
All of the people said they're unaware of any civilians being killed in the riot. In O'Reilly's 2001 book, he said “many were killed.”
“There were certainly no dead people,” Forrest said. “Had there been dead people, they would have sent more camera crews.”
Alvarez called the claims of deaths “outrageous, outrageous.”
“People being mowed down? Where was that? That would have been great footage. That would have turned into the story,” he said.
CNN's report from Buenos Aires at the time described “a squad of tear-gas-armed troops” and a crowd “hurling coins, rocks, and even bricks at both police and journalists,” but no deaths.
As CNN pointed out, O'Reilly continued to defend his claims in a February 22 interview with Howard Kurtz on Fox News' MediaBuzz. O'Reilly also used the interview as an opportunity to personally attack another former CBS News colleague, Eric Engberg, who was present with him in Argentina and who disputed O'Reilly's depiction of reporting in Argentina as a “combat situation” the same morning on CNN's Reliable Sources. Engberg asserted that the riot in Argentina “wasn't a combat situation by any sense of the word,” and also called into question O'Reilly's story about a CBS cameraman being injured, while O'Reilly used his Fox appearance to call Engberg a “coward.”