George Will: O’Reilly’s ‘Carelessness’ In Reagan Book ‘Pollutes History’

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November 10, 2015 3:06 p.m.
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Following a heated argument with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly over the weekend, Washington Post columnist and Fox contributor George Will attacked O’Reilly’s latest book, “Killing Reagan,” in a Tuesday column.

Will last week criticized the book and O’Reilly’s theory that the 1981 assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan caused the former president’s mental decline and contributed to his Alzheimer’s disease. O’Reilly brought Will onto his show on Friday night, where he accused the columnist of libel in a heated argument over the sources O’Reilly used to support his hypothesis.

On Tuesday, Will again tore O’Reilly apart in a column, noting that O’Reilly’s theory relies on a memo that the Fox host has never seen. Will added that O’Reilly claims that the memo disappeared from the Reagan Library.

“‘Disappeared’? His crude intimation was that the allegedly deceptive library is hiding the memo,” Will wrote. “The library, however, has never had it because when James Cannon wrote it, he was not a member of the White House staff, hence the memo was not a ‘presidential record’.”

Will added that O’Reilly’s book “Killing Lincoln” had numerous errors in the first version, and that the Fox host’s books are still “slipshod.”

“In ‘The Great Gatsby,’ F. Scott Fitzgerald writes of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, who ‘smashed up things’ and then ‘retreated back into . . . their vast carelessness . . . and let other people clean up the mess they had made.’ Tidying up after O’Reilly could be a full-time job but usually is not worth the trouble,” Will wrote. “When, however, O’Reilly’s vast carelessness pollutes history and debases the historian’s craft, the mess is, unlike O’Reilly, to be taken seriously.”

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