Updated with statement from FNC, and CNN telecast of archival footage, Eric Engberg interview: Bill O’Reilly this morning enlisted CBS News and the New York Times to hammer a Facebook post by former CBS News correspondent Eric Jon Engberg. Engberg rapped the Fox News star for calling “an expense account zone” the “war zone” that O’Reilly described in Buenos Aires following Argentina’s surrender to Britain at the close of the Falklands War.
“I got calls in to Dan Rather, I got calls into all the CBS brass at the time,” O’Reilly told Howard Kurtz this morning in Fox News Channel’s program Mediabuzz. “I’m going to get the video – CBS I think is going to give it to us tomorrow so the people can see for themselves. They can see it. I want everybody to read the New York Times article [about the incident] by [Richard J] Meislin.”
CBS News confirmed it did get the request, and is in the process of locating the video, which was shot three decades ago and is in the network’s archives, portions of which are stored off site.
“It was not a war zone or even close. It was an ‘expense account zone,’” Engberg wrote, of, O’Reilly’s time in Buenos Aires covering the Falklands War.
Meanwhile, Fox spokesperson tells Deadline that Chairman & CEO Roger Ailes and all senior management at Fox News Channel are in full support of O’Reilly.
This morning, O’Reilly blasted back that he doesn’t know if Engberg, who also was based in Buenos Aires for CBS News at that time – and who yesterday described O’Reilly as a bloviator – has any first-hand knowledge of the protests, which Engberg described as a “relatively tame riot.”
It might have been ‘tame’ for him – I don’t know if he was there,” O’Reilly told Kurtz of Engberg’s post in which he also said he was suspicious of O’Reilly’s reports of gunfire.
“I don’t think he was there, I don’t think he knows what happened,” O’Reilly also said. “I left the hotel, Engberg was still in the hotel – the Sheraton. I came back, running back with video for the Rather broadcast that night – Engberg was in the hotel. So if he was in the Plaza…where was the video?”
“I’d like everyone to ask him, ‘Were you there?’ because his reputation, his nickname, was ‘Room Service Eric” – that he never left the hotel.”
On Kurtz’s former all-things-media program, CNN’s Reliable Sources, meanwhile, Brian Stelter showed footage of O’Reilly talking in ’08 about his experience in Buenos Aires, interviewed Engberg, and read from that NYT article:
O’Reilly, on Mediabuzz, also read from that same NYT article, at length.
Kurtz addressed Engberg’s questioning as to whether a member of O’Reilly’s crew was injured, as the FNC star has said:
“Now, you have said in describing this episode in Buenos Aires that your photographer was run down, hit in the head, he was bleeding,” Kurtz said. “The army was chasing you guys. Engberg said, ‘I never heard of any injuries to the photographer’.”
“Roberto Moreno got hurt, OK?” O’Reilly shot back. “And we tended to Roberto, but he was a tough guy, and, you know, I left him to run the video back to the bureau, and then I went back. And subsequently he was OK.”
Engberg’s Facebook post is a personal campaign against him, O’Reilly insisted, “because in 1998 I laced him for big-footing.”
The Mother Jones article that first called into question O’Reilly’s acccount of his experience as a CBS News correspondent, meanwhile, “is splitting hairs, trying anything they can to bring down me because of Brian Williams’ situation,” O’Reilly said, calling author David Corn “a hatchet man, he’s an apparatchik for the far left.”