CBS News releases video referenced in O'Reilly dispute
NEW YORK (AP) — CBS News on Monday released video from four stories it aired about the Falklands War in 1982, all part of a dispute involving Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly and his subsequent statements about covering the war.
None of the stories mention O'Reilly, then a young CBS reporter, or makes any specific reference to a CBS crew member being hurt.
The television time travel was prompted by a Mother Jones article last week calling into question O'Reilly claims that he reported in a "war zone" or "combat zone" during the brief conflict between Britain and Argentina. Few reporters made it to the front of the war, some 1,000 miles from the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.
O'Reilly has said that he covered an anti-government demonstration in Buenos Aires that turned violent and that a photographer he was working with was knocked to the ground and was bleeding. Describing the events two years ago, O'Reilly said he "dragged off" the photographer from danger.
Former CBS News correspondent Eric Engberg, who was also covering the event, characterized O'Reilly's account as "dishonest" and "completely nutty" during a Huffington Post interview Monday. Engberg said none of the camera operators working the night in question remember any of their colleagues being injured. The camera person who was said to be hurt has not spoken publicly about the matter.
During one of the CBS reports, then-anchor Dan Rather said that several television crew members were knocked to the ground and that North American television crews were "jostled."
An Engberg report, also released by CBS Monday, said police fired guns with tear gas and plastic bullets. He said in the report it was not known how many people were hurt, but at least some were seriously injured.
An Associated Press account of the demonstration said that police officers charged a group of about 50 journalists, beating some and trampling others.
"Two news photographers were reported injured by rubber bullets fired by police," said the June 16, 1982, account by AP writer Douglas Grant Mine.
O'Reilly, on his program Monday night, showed portions of the CBS video and said it proved the event was no "walk in the park." He interviewed Don Browne, a former NBC News Miami bureau chief who was in the Falklands, who also described the situation. No mention was made in O'Reilly's report Monday about any CBS News personnel being hurt.
The Mother Jones piece was printed shortly after NBC News anchor Brian Williams was suspended for misrepresenting his experiences in the Iraq War. O'Reilly, long the most popular prime-time figure in cable news, has called the piece a political hit job. Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has said he fully supports O'Reilly.
"I want to stop this now," O'Reilly said. "I hope we can stop it, I really do."
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