Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fox News Mounts Aggressive Defense Against Unhinged Leftist Attacks on Bill O'Reilly


At the New York Times, "Bill O'Reilly and Fox News Redouble Defense of His Falklands Reporting":
The Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Monday stepped up his defense against reports that he embellished stories about his war reporting earlier in his career, while some former colleagues continued to say he had exaggerated his experiences.

Mr. O’Reilly is contesting an article in the magazine Mother Jones and subsequent interviews with former journalists at CBS News that accuse him of misrepresenting his coverage of the Falklands war in 1982 as a young correspondent for CBS News.

The central dispute is whether Mr. O’Reilly reported from active war zones, as he has repeatedly said on the air and in his 2001 book, “The No Spin Zone: Confrontations With the Powerful and Famous in America.”

Mr. O’Reilly has said that he had never claimed he reported from the Falkland Islands, where the fighting occurred. “I said I covered the Falklands war, which I did,” he said last Friday. He went on to describe his coverage of protests in the aftermath of the war on the streets of Buenos Aires, some 1,200 miles from the Falklands.

On Monday’s show, Mr. O’Reilly played CBS News footage from 1982 that showed the violent protests and quoted other correspondents describing the scene. He also included an interview with Don Browne, a former NBC News bureau chief who oversaw coverage of Latin America, who said there were tanks on the streets of the Argentine capital. “It was a real country at war,” Mr. Browne said. “It was a very intense situation where people got hurt.”

Mr. O’Reilly’s efforts to refute the claims by Mother Jones and some former CBS News colleagues occurred both on the air and off on Monday. 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.”

David Corn, one of the reporters on the Mother Jones piece, said that the issue was not whether Mr. O’Reilly had reported on a violent protest, but whether Mr. O’Reilly had reported from a war zone...

And see especially Jonathan Tobin, who lampoons the left's attacks as a "non-scandal," at Commentary, "Forget O’Reilly, Fox Is Still the Real Target":
When you host the most-watched cable news show and do it on the Fox News Channel, you’ve got to expect your share of brickbats from the left. So it was not terribly surprising that in the wake of the Brian Williams scandal, some on the left would seek to take down someone on the right, especially one of the stars of the dominant cable news channel that liberals love to hate. But as much as the commentary about this non-scandal that is being hyped as one has understandably revolved around Bill O’Reilly and his incendiary personality, it has little to do with him and everything to do with the antagonism that the left feels toward his network.

Despite the attention being lavished on this story by Fox rival CNN, there’s not all that much here to unwrap. The story published by Mother Jones magazine has an inflammatory headline comparing O’Reilly to Brian Williams, but even if you take the piece at face value — which is unjustified by its clear bias and use of innuendo — the comparison is pure hyperbole. There’s no dispute about O’Reilly being on the scene in Buenos Aires as riots convulsed Argentina as the Falklands War came to a disastrous end for that country. Nor is there [...] real dispute that those riots were violent and that people were shot there. The only possible point on which O’Reilly can be called out is whether reporting from Argentina can be termed “war reporting” or “combat” since he was not in the Falklands but rather on the Argentina home front.

It is, at best, a semantic point....

As we have come to see, Fox isn’t just the most-watched cable news outlet. It is the scapegoat for all of the anger harbored by both liberal journalists and politicians toward those who question their policies. It is no accident that both President Obama and Attorney General Holder regularly use Fox as a punch line in their speeches to tame liberal audiences. It is not so much an antagonist as it often pursues negative story lines about the administration that mainstream liberals ignore as it is a metaphor for the Democrats’ inability to silence dissent against their beloved president or his policies.

Fox’s conservative bias is no secret, though it is far more balanced at times than the openly and almost uniformly left-wing voices heard on MSNBC and often fairer than the supposedly down-the-middle CNN. The channel’s popularity is a function of the fact that almost half the country feels disenfranchised by mainstream outlets that cover up their liberal tilt with a veneer of faux objectivity.

This motive wouldn’t protect O’Reilly if he was actually caught in a Williams-style lie. But he wasn’t, so the intense focus on him on CNN tells us more about liberal resentment than it does about his supposedly fast-and-loose style.

Perhaps O’Reilly would be better off just ignoring the attacks as pinpricks from a jealous rival. But it’s hard to blame him for defending his reputation, especially when characters like Engberg are concerned. But though his furious response may have given this story some extra life, all it really has done is give us another opportunity to ponder the left’s pointless Fox obsession.
And yet still more, at Mediaite, "Ex-NBC Bureau Chief Backs Up O’Reilly’s Account of Falklands War Riot."