After initial questions were raised about Bill O’Reilly’s stories on covering the Falklands War, a former CBS correspondent cast additional doubt on O’Reilly’s accounts of his war reporting as a CBS correspondent in the 1980s.
According to Mother Jones, O’Reilly in 2013 discussed being “in a war zone” in the Falklands. The Mother Jones report then pointed out that no American reporter made it to the Falklands during the war and that O’Reilly actually covered a protest in Buenos Aires.
Former CBS correspondent Eric Engberg wrote in a Facebook post on Friday that he didn’t remember O’Reilly reporting from a war zone.
“To begin with ‘covering’ is an overstatement of what we were doing. [Mother Jones’ David] Corn is correct in pointing out that the Falkland Islands, where the combat between Great Britain and Argentina took place, was a thousand miles away from Buenos Aires,” Engberg wrote. “We were in Buenos Aires because that’s the only place the Argentine military junta would let journalists go.”
After Mother Jones published its report, O’Reilly said he always made it clear he was reporting from Buenos Aires.
O’Reilly has talked and written about a protest in Buenos Aires that he covered, during which he claims he rescued an injured cameraman amidst gunfire from the Argentinian junta.
In his Facebook post, Engberg said that O’Reilly had exaggerated about the protest he covered in Buenos Aires.
“The riot around the presidential palace was actually short-lived. It consisted mostly of chanting, fist-shaking and throwing coins at the uniformed soldiers who were assembled outside the palace. I did not see any police attacks against demonstrators,” he said.
Engberg also cast doubt on the specific story O’Reilly told about his cameraman.
“O’Reilly has said he was in a situation in Argentina where ‘my photographer got run down and hit his head and was bleeding from the ear on the concrete and the army was chasing us.’ The only place where such an injury could have occurred was the relatively tame riot I have described above,” Engberg wrote. “The gunfire reported by O’Reilly is equally suspicious. One of our camera crews reported that they believed the Argentine police or army had fired a few rubber bullets at the crowd. That was the only report we received of weapons being fired that night.”
A cameraman and a sound engineer who were both in Buenos Aires with O’Reilly at the time told CNN on Sunday that they do not remember a cameraman getting injured and don’t believe that people were killed during the riot, as O’Reilly has detailed.
O’Reilly told Fox News Howard Kurtz on Sunday that Engberg’s statement was “absurd.”
“It might have been tame for him, because I don’t know if he was there,” O’Reilly said, claiming that Engberg stayed in the hotel during the riot. “I don’t think he was there. I don’t think he knows what happened.”
O’Reilly cited a New York Times report on the riot, which describes a police officer firing shots over the heads of demonstrators.
He added that he has requested the video he shot of the riot from CBS and expects to air it Monday on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
Engberg appeared on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday, where he disputed O’Reilly’s claim that the other CBS reporters hid in the hotel during the riot.
Watch the video via Media Matters: