February 24, 2015

If BillO stretches this story any harder to pretend he's right, he's gonna snap like Harry Reid's exercise band.

Bill O'Reilly is looking for allies wherever he can find them. Since there aren't any among his former co-workers at CBS, he went to the competition and scored a guest appearance with former Miami bureau chief Don Browne, who was not actually in Argentina when O'Reilly was, but could offer recollections of what his crew was feeding the station.

First, Browne confirms that it was a riot and not a war zone. But he does help bolster O'Reilly by saying it was a "very intense situation where people got hurt."

Riots tend to be intense situations, but as they go, the one on June 15, 1982 was fairly mild. According to the June 16th ABC News report, there were some burned vehicles but no deaths reported. That's confirmed by the New York Times.

This stands in contrast to the December 2001 riots where 25 people were killed. But O'Reilly wasn't there in 2001, he was there in 1982 and in 1982 there were no people killed.

So much for Don Browne's help fixing the mess O'Reilly's in. He then turned to Mediaite's Joe Concha, who was not in Argentina in June, 1982 either, but has a sympathetic ear to Fox News.

Concha lent moral support and spent some time acting as BillO's surrogate David Corn basher, but had no light to shed on things.

Finally, there was an effort to blow some smoke across what he said when he said Eric Engberg never left his hotel room. Seems he "can't say" that's true. That's never stopped him from lying before, so Engberg must have hit close to home.

You know what? We all know O'Reilly's lying and digging his hole deeper and deeper, right? So why even bother to put this story up, you might ask.

Here's why. Ailes would never suspend O'Reilly for lying through his tiny teeth, but it does put some light on the difference between what a party propaganda channel does when confronted with lies and what legitimate news organizations do. Even the New York Times picked up on that:

The controversy comes less than two weeks after NBC News suspended its anchor, Brian Williams, for six months without pay after he was found to have falsified a story about being on a helicopter that was shot down in Iraq in 2003.

The two news networks have taken different approaches in responding to the similar controversies engulfing their biggest stars. After military veterans complained about Mr. Williams’s story about the episode in Iraq, NBC News started an internal investigation into Mr. Williams before removing him from broadcasts. Fox News executives, in contrast, have defended Mr. O’Reilly, combating the Mother Jones report and other critics. “Fox News Chairman and C.E.O. Roger Ailes and all senior management are in full support of Bill O’Reilly,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

That aggressive defense fits a broader strategy at Fox News, which consistently swings back against rival media outlets, journalism observers said.

“Fox News channel is news for people who don’t trust the rest of the news media,” said Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University. “They actually want the controversy because it fits this strategy.”

Most people -- even people who watch Fox News GOP TV -- want to be able to rely on the authority of what they hear and read. But anyone who dares cite Bill O'Reilly as an arbiter of fact after this risks looking like the same kind of fool he is.

This is why BillO hopes the whole rotten mess can just go away and go away soon. At least, it can go away after his pal Rush Limbaugh bloviates on it, a promise that BillO left his viewers with at the end.

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