The Bill O’Reilly Falklands War saga continued this past weekend, with O’Reilly and his former CBS News colleagues both firing salvos at each other’s versions of events from the 1982 conflict.
Nonetheless, Fox News is in full support of its No. 1 anchor, issuing a statement to several media outlets Monday.
“Fox News Chairman and C.E.O. Roger Ailes and all senior management are in full support of Bill O’Reilly,” a spokeswoman said.
Former CBS News correspondent Eric Engberg appeared on “Reliable Sources” Sunday, claiming O’Reilly is “misrepresenting the situation he covered” by describing it as a “war zone.” He also claimed there were no shots fired at protestors during a riot in Buenos Aires following the Argentine Junta’s surrender to the British, contrary to O’Reilly’s account (The New York Times reported that tear gas was fired at protestors).
Several former CBS staffers on the ground with O’Reilly during the riot also disputed his claims that “many people died” as a result of the riots and that O’Reilly’s photographer was severely injured, or as O’Reilly described it, bleeding from the ear after sustaining injuries during the scrum.
“If somebody got hurt, we all would have known,” former CBS cameraman Manny Alvarez told CNN.
And one of the most direct rebuttals to O’Reilly’s claims that many died during the protests comes from CBS’ own report, which didn’t describe any casualties on the ground.
O’Reilly appeared on Fox News’ MediaBuzz with Howard Kurtz Sunday to defend himself, suggesting Engberg was known as “Room Service Eric” because he never left his hotel room during conflicts.
“I don’t think he was there; I don’t think he knows what happened,” O’Reilly said about Engberg not being in the streets during the Buenos Aires riots.
“I left the hotel, Engberg was still in the hotel in the Sheraton,” he continued, suggesting Engberg couldn’t be a credible source on whether O’Reilly exaggerated his story on the protests since he never left the hotel room.
“What he just said was a lie,” Engberg told Brian Stelter in reference to O’Reilly’s assertion that Engberg and other CBS colleagues stayed in their hotel during the riots.
O’Reilly told Kurtz he was attempting to book former CBS News anchor Dan Rather to appear on his show Monday to address the story.
The initial media firestorm surrounding the top-rated Fox host’s Falklands War coverage ignited with a Thursday report by Mother Jones, which challenged O’Reilly’s claims of reporting from the conflict, suggesting he exaggerated his account to create the appearance of combat zone experience.