CNN's Brian Stelter aired a new version of an audio that was first published by the website JFKFacts.org, which proves that when Bill O'Reilly said he was at the door of a Lee Harvey Oswald associate who killed himself, it was a lie.
CNN's Reliable Sources aired a new, clearer version of audio that further disproves Bill O'Reilly's claim that he personally "heard" the shotgun blast that killed a figure in the investigation into President John F. Kennedy's assassination.
O'Reilly has repeatedly claimed in his books and on Fox News that while he was reporting for a Dallas television station in 1977, he was directly outside at the exact moment that George de Mohrenschildt -- an associate of Lee Harvey Oswald -- shot himself in a Florida home. O'Reilly has offered no evidence to confirm this claim, and the police report filed at the time makes no mention of him.
Adding to the mounting evidence against O'Reilly's tale are tape recordings of a phone conversation between O'Reilly and a congressional investigator who was interviewing de Mohrenschildt before his death. On the tapes, O'Reilly can be heard asking the congressional reporter about the details of the suicide, and adding that he is not yet in Florida -- a claim that is at odds with O'Reilly's statements that he was near the home where de Mohrenschildt killed himself.
Lower-quality copies of these tapes were first posted online by former Washington Post editor Jefferson Morley in a 2013 piece for his website JFKFacts.org, as Media Matters noted in our initial report.
Now, CNN has obtained the original tapes from the congressional investigator's widow, and the audio is significantly cleaner and easier to hear. O'Reilly can clearly be heard asking the congressional investigator where the suicide took place, if a gun was used, and saying "I'm coming down there tomorrow. I'm coming to Florida ... I'm going to get in there tomorrow."
With each passing day, new information comes out that highlights how many times Bill O'Reilly has lied about his own reporting just as Brian Williams did, to make himself look better. We know Williams was suspended for his actions, yet Bill is still on the air, bloviating away.
Here's the transcript of the audio from CNN:
This one is about his time in Dallas as a young reporter in the late 1970s. He was working on a story about the investigation into JFK's assassination. And he was trying to track down a former friend of Lee Harvey Oswald.
The man's name was George de Mohrenschmidt (sic). Now here's -- I think I'm getting that wrong. We'll check it. Now here is what he wrote about it in his best-selling book "Killing Kennedy." This is from page 300.
It says: "The reporter traced him to Palm Beach, Florida, and traveled there to confront him. As the reported knocked on the door of the daughter's home, he heard the shotgun blast that marked the suicide of the Russian, assuring that his relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald would never be fully understood."
By the way, that reporter's name is Bill O'Reilly. So that's what O'Reilly wrote in the book, plain and simple right there. O'Reilly says he was outside the guy's house in Florida when he heard the fatal gunshot.
And he said basically the same thing on FOX News while promoting his book. But O'Reilly wasn't there. Remarkably, there's an audiotape from that very day of a phone call between O'Reilly and an investigator named Gaeton Fonzi.
Fonzi's widow let CNN hear the tape. And it speaks for itself. So listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BILL O'REILLY, HOST, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR": Hi, Gaeton, Bill O'Reilly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
O'REILLY: Something definitely did happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I got it.
O'REILLY: What is it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He committed suicide up here in where I was trying to locate him.
O'REILLY: OK. Where is that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a place called Manalapan, M-A-N-A-L-A-P-A-N, Palm Beach County.
O'REILLY: OK. So he committed suicide, he's dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
O'REILLY: OK. What time?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Late this afternoon, I don't know.
O'REILLY: OK. Gun?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think -- yes, I think he shot himself.
O'REILLY: OK. Yes, Jesus Christ.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn't that something? Jesus.
O'REILLY: We've got to get this guy (INAUDIBLE). I'm coming down there tomorrow. I'm coming to Florida. We've got to get this guy. He knows. He knows what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm going to be up there probably trying to secure the papers.
O'REILLY: Yes, OK. All right. I'm going to get in there tomorrow. I'm going to get a car. Is there a number -- will you leave a number at your house where I can reach you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only way, call the magazine.
O'REILLY: OK. OK. Now, I'm going to try to get a night flight out of here if I can. But I might have to go tomorrow morning. Let me see.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
STELTER: So it seems pretty clear, O'Reilly says there, I'm coming to Florida. But in his book he says he was already there. So how does he explain this? Well, he hasn't. At least not yet.