Bill O’Reilly is facing questions of whether he has ever really reported from a war zone in Argentina, as he has previously claimed in his 2001 book and on TV.
In an interview with The Washington Post, O’Reilly provided an idea of how he defines a “war zone.”
“In Argentina, I was in combat in the sense that bullets were being fired,” he told the newspaper.
Typically, a “war zone” refers to the area where a war is actually being fought. While he was covering the Falklands War in Argentina, O’Reilly was stationed in Buenos Aires, according to CNN, which was more than 1,000 miles from the actual conflict zone.
Bullets were indeed fired during a protest in Buenos Aires in 1982, as news reports from the time pointed out, but whether or not anyone was killed in the demonstrations is unclear.
O’Reilly wrote in his 2001 book, “The No Spin Zone: Confrontations With the Powerful and Famous in America,” that “many were killed” in the riot, but other reporters who were also there dispute the assertion.
In an interview on Fox’s Mediabuzz show, O’Reilly pointed to a New York Times story from the time that said a policeman “pulled a pistol” and fired five shots during a protest. But he left out the part of the sentence that noted the shots were fired “over the heads of fleeing demonstrators.”
O’Reilly said he was just reading clips from the Times piece and that official casualty reports were hard to come by, according to The Times.
“What I saw on the streets that night was a demonstration — passionate, chaotic, and memorable — but it would be hard to confuse it with being in a war zone,” Rich Meislin, the Times reporter who wrote the original story, wroteon Facebookon Monday.
O’Reilly has also referred to other war zones when talking about his reporting experience.
The Post notes that O’Reilly wrote in his 2001 book: “You know that I am not easily shocked. I’ve reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falkland Islands.” He has also made references to working from “the war zones of [the] Falkland conflict in Argentina, the Middle East, and Northern Ireland.”
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