Bill O'Reilly is accused of making up war stories, having his own 'Brian Williams problem'

Does Bill O'Reilly have a "Brian Williams problem"?
(Image credit: Mother Jones/Fox News)

Late Thursday, Mother Jones published an article accusing Fox News host Bill O'Reilly of having his own "Brian Williams problem," exaggerating his war stories, especially regarding Argentina's 1982 Falkland Islands war with Britain but also covering El Salvador a year earlier. At the time, O'Reilly was a reporter for CBS News.

"O'Reilly did not respond to multiple requests for comment," note Mother Jones' David Corn and Daniel Schulman, but the Fox News star did respond via other news outlets. To Politico, O'Reilly called Corn a "liar" and the article "a piece of garbage," and said that he never claimed he was on the Faukland Islands themselves. "I was in Buenos Aires," O'Reilly told Dylan Byers. "In Buenos Aires we were in a combat situation after the Argentines surrendered."

Corn and Schulman go back and look at the reports from Buenos Aires, and they judge that O'Reilly greatly exaggerated his heroism in his later retellings of the post-war street clashes as well. They interviewed reporters who were in Buenos Aires with O'Reilly, and they have video footage so you can decide for yourself:

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O'Reilly is now an opinion purveyor, not a straight journalist, but as Brian Stelter pointed out on CNN Thursday night, O'Reilly is the No. 1 opinion anchor while Williams was the No. 1 network news anchor, making O'Reilly "the Brian Williams of cable news."

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.