O’Reilly Caught In Another Lie

Bill O’Reilly has been caught in another lie, but he was actually caught two years ago by an old friend of mine, Jeff Morley. When I was a fellow with the Center for Independent Media (later the American Independent News Network), Jeff was our national editorial director and I learned a lot from him. Two years ago, he caught O’Reilly in a whopper of a lie and with the current controversy over his “war zone” reporting in Argentina, the media is now noticing it.

The lie involves O’Reilly’s reporting on the JFK assassination, specifically the suicide of a friend of Lee Harvey Oswald, who killed himself with a shotgun after being subpoenaed to testify in front of the Warren Commission. O’Reilly tried to insert himself into the story by falsely claiming that he was at the door of the man’s house when he did it and heard the shotgun blast. In reality, he wasn’t even in the same state when it happened.

In O’Reilly’s account, the dramatic incident happened on March 29, 1977. The Fox News talk show host was then a 28-year-old television reporter in Dallas seeking to make a name for himself by investigating a popular subject that other reporters disdained: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Working in Dallas at a time when Congress re-opened the JFK investigation in the mid-1970s, O’Reilly scored some real scoops, especially about a man named George de Mohrenschildt. A Russian emigre who moved in both European high society and the American underworld, de Mohrenschildt would have made a splendid character in a Graham Greene novel, except he was a real living CIA asset involved in the events that would culminate in JFK’s murder on Dallas on November 22,1963.

O’Reilly spins the story with third person modesty in Killing Kennedy (p. 300), calling himself “the reporter.” He wrote that he

“traced de Mohrenschildt to Palm Beach, Florida and travelled there to confront him. At the time de Mohrenschildt had been called to testify before a congressional committee looking into the events of November 1963. As the reporter knocked on the door of de Mohrenschildt’s daughter’s home, he heard the shotgun blast [Emphasis added] that marked the suicide of the Russian, assuring that his relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald would never be fully understood.

“By the way, that reporter’s name is Bill O’Reilly.”

It’s a vivid story and well told. It’s also mostly imaginary. In fact, the reporter named Bill O’Reilly was in Dallas, Texas, on that day.

So how does Morley know that O’Reilly was in Dallas at the time? From recordings of phone calls he made to Gaeton Fonzi, a Congressional investigator working on the case. He has the audio at the link above. O’Reilly called Fonzi to find out if it was true that de Mohrenschildt had killed himself (which he obviously would know if he was at the guy’s house when he did it) and he specifically says that he’d been trying to confirm the details from Dallas but was going to go to Florida the next day:

Fonzi tells Bill he cannot confirm de Mohrenschildt is dead. Like a good reporter, Bill says he has been trying to run down the story by telephone from Texas. “I checked every medical examiner from Satellite Beach to Key West,” he says, “and there’s no report on this.” He says he’s going to keep working on the story and he asks Fonzi to call him if he learns anything. He hangs up.

Fonzi makes a flurry of calls to his sources in Florida and confirms the story. Then O’Reilly calls for a third time.

“Gaeton,” the caller says. “Bill O’Reilly.” Fonzi shares some details of the story, and O’Reilly tells him his travel plans. “I’m coming down there tomorrow,” he says. “I’m coming to Florida.”

Fonzi tells him to get in contact when he arrives.

“I’m going to take a night flight if I can,” O’Reilly says, “but I may have to go tomorrow morning.”

O’Reilly’s utterances prove that he was not knocking on George Mohrenschildt’s doorstep as he now melodramatically claims. The truth is more prosaic. O’Reilly got a tip on a hot story, worked his sources to confirm it, and rushed to the scene. In making up this story for Killing Kennedy, he slighted the truth of his own professionalism.

Fox News is clamming up on the story. When asked about it, they referred questions to the publisher of the book, even though O’Reilly told the same story on their network at least once. All of this fits a pattern, as I’ve noted before. O’Reilly lives in a fantasy world where he’s always the hero. He always has to be at the center of attention in every story, so he just lies to insert himself there. He’s the Forrest Gump of journalism.

"The Guardian piece is hardly cheering. They basically say "it's better than his usual drivel ..."

Breaking Down Trump’s Afghanistan Speech
"Also, some of them are Hispanic, and they're all rapists."

Breaking Down Trump’s Afghanistan Speech
"I am less worried by this than most of his other decisions. Frankly the more ..."

Breaking Down Trump’s Afghanistan Speech
"Those few times when he acts like an actual adult are when he’s reluctantly play-acting ..."

Trump Wars 4: A New Hope
Follow Us!
POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • mjmiller

    Run Billy! Run!

  • dugglebogey

    O’Reilly will continue to deny it, and he will continue to not get in any trouble over it.

    Admitting to it was Williams’ mistake.

  • Trebuchet

    Billo also saw Obama on the grassy knoll. True story!

  • http://howlandbolton.com richardelguru

    Whenever he says anything just reply “Oh? Really??”

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    “Gaeton,” the caller says. “Bill O’Reilly.” Fonzi shares some details of the story, and O’Reilly tells him his travel plans. “I’m coming down there tomorrow,” he says. “I’m coming to Florida.”

    .

    Fonzi tells him to “sit on it.”

    Fixed it.

  • http://healthvsmedicine.blogspot.com cervantes

    Well okay, but O’Reilly is paid to lie on the air. That’s his job. Why is this even an issue?

  • davidworthington

    Anybody interested in co-authoring a book: Killing O’Reilly?

  • wildbill

    Why are people just now making a big deal about O’Reilly lying? It is not like it is the first time. And its not like he’s a journalist, or that FOX has any credibility that could be damaged. I worry that this could give some credibility to O’Reilly and FOX, since some people are trying to hold him accountable to the same standards as real journalists.

  • Al Dente

    cervantes @6

    Some people seem to think that Fox is a news organization. It’s a propaganda mill. They would lie about the weather if they thought they could slam anyone to the left of Scott Perry. So O’Reilly’s lies won’t hurt him at Fox. The most that could happen is him being told to stop being so blatant in his lies.

    Come to think of it, Fox does lie about weather. They’re climate change denialists.

  • sugarfrosted

    @9 RE: Lying about weather. It turns out that some weather station are biased about the weather. They lean to reporting worse weather on a day since people are less likely to remember not going somewhere because of the weather report, rather than being rained out.

    Now to be more on topic:

    @2

    O’Reilly will continue to deny it, and he will continue to not get in any trouble over it.

    Admitting to it was Williams’ mistake.

    Brian William’s mistake was being on a station that at least cares about the appearance of being professional and ethical. As long as this doesn’t hurt Billo’s ratings too much, Fox News will keep him.

  • llewelly

    Fox News will probably respond by giving Bill O’Reilly a raise.

  • http://mostlyrational.net tacitus

    It’s all good. Bill was clearly talking about the time he saw a photo of the door.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    If O’liarly ever started telling the truth, THEN FuckTheNew’sCorpse would to shitcan him.

    I would be totally unsurprised to find out that CBN was reporting the weather in New England and New York as GOD’s just punishment of the blasphemohomolibtards.

  • Goomba

    So, when is BillO going to use the AIG Defense ” where you there?”

  • dan4

    “…even though O’Reilly told the same story on their network at least once.”

    …and Williams never told HIS lie on NBC News. So O’Reilly actually comes off looking worse than BW, and the former pays the professional price and the latter doesn’t.