In his first interview away from his home turf at Fox News, Bill O’Reilly fielded questions from “Late Show” host David Letterman on whether he had a Brian Williams problem after recent scrutiny over the integrity of his work.
“It comes down to the same thing, with you and Brian,” Letterman said near the end of the interview, referencing Williams, whom he called a friend.
“Trust is the residue of both positions,” he went on. “So people must trust you to the same degree — they might disagree with you — but they must trust you the same way they trust Brian Williams.”
“I’ve been on the air 19 seasons, 15 years at number one,” O’Reilly answered. “Our ratings now are as high as they’ve ever been, so I think they do trust me and I’m glad they do.”
Throughout the interview, O’Reilly said his reporting has always been “accurate,” and that his ratings had actually improved even as the media recently investigated his work.
Letterman said that, unlike Williams’ case, people had to “go back 30 years” to find things that O’Reilly had allegedly exaggerated or fabricated, such as his reporting during the Falklands war in the 1980s.
But the “Late Show” host did not mention the contradictions surrounding O’Reilly’s 2012 claims that he was on the scene at the suicide of George de Mohrenschildt, a figure in the investigation of JFK’s assassination. (O’Reilly repeatedly wrote and said that he was in Florida at the time of the suicide, while audio tapes reveal him saying he would be traveling to the state the day after the suicide.)
Letterman also left out allegations from O’Reilly’s former colleagues that the Fox host lied about being attacked in 1991 during the L.A. riots.
Nor did the late night host bring up O’Reilly’s claims, later dialed back by Fox News and the pundit himself, to have “seen” nuns in El Salvador shot in the head and witnessed people bombed in Northern Ireland.
O’Reilly appeared at ease and in good spirits during the interview.
Watch the clip, courtesy of CBS: