It’s all over now, Bill O’Reilly

Definitive proof the Fox ‘newsman’ is a Brian-Williams-style liar.

When at first Brian Williams claimed to have been shot down in a helicopter over Iraq, a few people wondered if that were true. Well, it wasn’t. But Brian managed to go on without that fib killing his career. It wasn’t until many years later, after he told the story over and over again, then ultimately recounted it on NBC’s nightly newscast, that the canard did him in.

So a word to the wise: Don’t tell an outrageous lie more than once. It could cost you. Unfortunately this bit of advice comes too late for Williams. He’s gone for now, and someone else has taken his place as news anchor.

As for Bill O’Reilly, he is far above reproach – at least as much as he is above NBC’s liberal anchor. He predictably thought the whole Williams scandal quite unseemly. He commented: Why can’t journalists remember that they’re ultimately responsible to our Founding Fathers?

Reporting the news comes with a big responsibility. The Founding Fathers made that point very clearly. They said to us, we will give you freedom, we will protect you from government intrusion but in return you must be honest…

And why can’t people take their jobs seriously? Why can’t they just tell the truth? You can all rest assured that nobody will ever catch Bill O’Reilly telling lies like Brian Williams.

Here on The Factor we are in our 19th season, an amazing run and we have made some mistakes in the past, but very few. We put together an honest broadcast and we take great pains to present you with information that can be verified.

All Americans who love their country should think about what happened to Brian Williams … to think about other news agencies that are distorting the facts. We all should open that proverbial “Network” window and say, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!”

But. As you probably already know, in the wake of Williams’ suspension Mother Jones has focused its own reporting upon Bill-O. They’ve been looking at his history of telling jaw-dropping stories and seeing whether he’s been telling the truth. And it turns out that O’Reilly is quite a shameless liar. For an overview, see here: The Bill O’Reilly scandal, made simple.

In short, Mother Jones found out that O’Reilly claimed to have reported from a “war zone” while he was only in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This put Bill about 1000 miles short of the military conflict he was ostensibly covering. To counter that assertion of fact, Bill-O has responded with bluster, outrage, threats and bug-eyed sanctimony. Other than typical dudgeon and tantrum, he has yet to offer Mother Jones any relevant facts of his own. Which is pretty damning. That’s not to say folks have been particularly impressed with the O’Reilly expose’. Much of whether he’s a ‘liar’ hangs on how honest he’s expected to be, as well as what the phrase ‘war zone’ constitutes, among other things. It’s perhaps confusing to some.

Well, as of today, the questions about O’Reilly’s lying have been answered. Any previous doubts about his dishonesty are now gone. There’s definitive proof he’s been telling lies as ridiculous as the ones that got Brian Williams fired.

Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly claimed he personally “heard” a shotgun blast that killed a figure in the investigation into President John F. Kennedy’s assassination while reporting for a Dallas television station in 1977.

And he’s told this corker over and over again, the same way Williams told his Iraq howler.

To make a long story shorter, let’s first get through some quick notes on the tale: Who was this assassination figure? His name was George de Mohrenschildt. George was a Russian who in the sixties befriended Lee Harvey Oswald. What happened to him? When the House Select Committee on Assassinations contacted George about testifying on Oswald and the Kennedy assassination, he killed himself. This was at his daughter’s home in Florida in March of 1977. What did O’Reilly claim? That as a reporter for a Dallas TV station, WFAA, Bill was hot on the heels of the mysterious de Mohrenschildt, tracking him to his daughter’s house in Florida. And when O’Reilly knocked on the house’s door, he heard the Russian shoot himself. Bill has made this specific claim again and again:

In his 2012 best-selling non-fiction book Killing Kennedy, O’Reilly writes on page 300 that as a “reporter knocked on the door of de Mohrenschildt’s daughter’s home, he heard the shotgun blast that marked the suicide of the Russian … that reporter’s name is Bill O’Reilly.”

In March of 1977, a young television reporter at WFAA in Dallas began looking in to the Kennedy assassination. As part of his reporting, he sought an interview with the shadowy Russian professor who had befriended the Oswalds upon their arrival in Dallas in 1962. The reporter traced George de Mohrenschildt to Palm Springs, Florida and traveled there to confront him. At the time, de Mohrenschildt had been called to testify before a congressional committee looking in to the events of November, 1963. As the reporter knocked on the door of de Mohrenschildt’s 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.

O’Reilly repeated the tale for the Killing Kennedy audiobook.

He also wrote in Kennedy’s Last Days, the 2013 adaption of Killing Kennedy for younger readers: “As I knocked on the door, I heard a shotgun blast. He had killed himself.”

The Fox News host repeated the tale while promoting his book and movie special on Fox News. During an October 2, 2012, appearance on Fox & Friends, O’Reilly claimed he “was about to knock on the door where [de Mohrenschildt] was, his daughter’s house, and he blew his brains out with a shotgun.” O’Reilly replayed the clip of his 2012 appearance during a November 30, 2014, O’Reilly Factor special before Fox News’ airing of the Killing Kennedy film.

But the whole thing is a lie. Why? And how can we be so sure? Because O’Reilly was in Texas at the time. Nowhere near Florida. And the ironclad evidence for that comes from a Dallas reporter who would be in a position to know.

By the way, that reporter’s name is Bill O’Reilly…

Gaeton Fonzi, as the New York Times wrote in a 2012 obituary, was “one of the most relentless investigators on the House Select Committee on Assassinations” regarding Kennedy’s death. Fonzi’s memoir and personal recordings show that O’Reilly could not have been in Florida at the time of de Mohrenschildt’s death.

As Jefferson Morley noted, Fonzi wrote in his 1993 autobiography that O’Reilly called him to confirm that de Mohrenschildt committed suicide.

About 6:30 that evening I received a call from Bill O’Reilly, a friend who was then a television reporter in Dallas. ‘Funny thing happened,’ he [O’Reilly] said. ‘We just aired a story that come over the wire about a Dutch journalist saying the Assassinations Committee has finally located de Mohrenschildt in South Florida. Now de Mohrenschildt’s attorney, a guy named Pat Russell, he calls and says de Mohrenschildt committed suicide this afternoon. Is that true?’

Now why would Fonzi write that his Dallas buddy had called him to confirm de Mohrenschildt’s suicide when Bill-O had been right there on the doorstep when it happened? Why would an ear-witness to the event fly back to Texas and then call a third party to ask if the suicide claim were true? It’s obvious why. O’Reilly was never there.

Morley also obtained phone conversations between Fonzi and O’Reilly on March 29, 1977, from Fonzi’s widow which the former Post editor says show that O’Reilly “certainly did not hear de Mohrenschildt’s demise with his own ears. When the fatal shot rang out, O’Reilly was in his office at the WFAA studios in Dallas, Texas, more than 1,200 miles away. The confirmation comes from O’Reilly himself.”

Bill O’Reilly inserting himself into Kennedy history doesn’t even make any journalistic sense. He was only a local Dallas TV guy at the time, not an investigative reporter for CBS’ 60 Minutes. Or PBS’ Frontline. Why would his outlet, WFAA, be interested in blowing all that money to send a local reporter to Florida just so he can chase a conspiracy theory? And I have no doubt, if he’d actually heard de Mohrenschildt’s shotgun blast, that law-and-order O’Reilly would have immediately called the cops himself. He’d surely have then followed up the 9-1-1 call with some live on-scene coverage, Fox-style (…speaking to the camera crew that the station never sent with him, of course…) recounting the Kennedy conspirator’s dramatic suicide – a desperate last attempt to dodge the questioning of WFAA’s bulldog reporter. But O’Reilly was never in the police report:

The Associated Press’ March 30, 1977, report about de Mohrenschildt’s suicide quoted Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Lt. Richard Sheets stating of the death: “At the time of the shooting, he was alone in the house except for two maids who said they did not hear the shot.” The AP report, obtained via the Nexis database, makes no mention of O’Reilly’s alleged presence outside the home.

As if it ever could have been possible. The idea is laughable, and the truth revealed to no one’s shock or surprise. Bill O’Reilly has always been a tawdry fabulist, agent of rank bullshit, and stone-faced liar. But I don’t hold any hope that his bosses will be concerned by the revelations. As Rupert Murdoch’s conception of ‘truth’ runs to propaganda, they’ll be hard-pressed to find any reason to fire him. And so he’ll go on plying his viewers with more of his Reporter Man tales – though I’d like to think he’d be met with some sensible hooting and derision from now on. Maybe then the idea of O’Reilly as an honest man will become a Brian-Williams style joke outside the realm of Fox News, Inc.