“We welcome criticism, but calling for our reporter ‘to be in the kill zone’ crosses a line,” political news website’s editor-in-chiefs write to Fox News
The battle between Bill O’Reilly and website Mother Jones continued Friday as the political news website sent a letter to Fox News demanding an on-air apology from O’Reilly for saying David Corn deserved to be “in the kill zone.”
Corn reported an explosive piece on Thursday highlighting various occasions O’Reilly has claimed to have been in the war zone during the 1982 Falklands War between Argentina and England.
The issue, Corn states, is that few journalists were actually up close to witness the fighting: “Given the remote location of the war zone — which included the British territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, more than 1,400 miles offshore — few reporters were able to witness and report on the combat that claimed the lives of about 900 Argentine and British troops,” Corn wrote. “The government in London only allowed about 30 British journalists to accompany its military forces.”
In response to Corn’s report, O’Reilly went on a media tour de force, doing interviews with Mediabistro, The Washington Post, Politico, Mediaite and others on Thursday. As part of his fiery defense, O’Reilly suggested he expected the truth to come out vindicating him and for Corn “to be in the kill zone. Where he deserves to be.”
Mother Jones did not take the comment lightly, writing to Fox News executive vice president of programming Bill Shine and spokesperson Dana Klinghoffer demanding an on-air apology from O’Reilly.
“We welcome criticism, but calling for our reporter ‘to be in the kill zone’ crosses a line. Like everyone in media today, we are concerned about the safety of our staff. We’d have hoped that statements with this kind of violent tone would not come from a fellow media professional.”
Fox News did not immediately respond to TheWrap‘s request for comment.
See the full letter from Mother Jones’ editors in chiefs Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery.
Dear Bill and Dana,
We are writing with alarm about Bill O’Reilly’s response to our report investigating his characterizations of his reporting in “war zones.” We welcome criticism, but calling for our reporter “to be in the kill zone” crosses a line. Like everyone in media today, we are concerned about the safety of our staff. We’d have hoped that statements with this kind of violent tone would not come from a fellow media professional.
For a full day before publishing the story, starting at 8:30 a.m., Mother Jones sought comment or clarification from Fox News. This included sending emails with a detailed list of questions. After multiple calls and emails to you both went unanswered, we published the story at 5:26 p.m.
After the article was posted, Mr. O’Reilly spoke to multiple reporters for other outlets. He did not address the substance of the article. Instead, he called David Corn “a liar,” “a guttersnipe,” “a disgusting piece of garbage,” and “a left-wing assassin.” He suggested that Corn deserved to be “in the kill zone.”
Mr ‘Reilly has indicated that he plans to address the Mother Jones story on his show tonight. He should use that occasion to renounce his “kill zone” remark and apologize. If he does not, he should issue a separate statement renouncing the remark and apologizing.
We would appreciate a response. And of course, we remain very interested in any comments responding to the article itself.
Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery