UPDATE with NYT interview and The O‘Reilly Factor ratings: Hours after Bill O’Reilly again defended his characterization of his reporting from Buenos Aires in 1982 with broadcast excerpts of CBS News’ coverage of the protests there at the end of the Falklands War, and told viewers “I want to stop this now. I hope we can stop it,” the New York Times took him in another direction.
O’Reilly has been exchanging blows with various media outlets and journalists questioning his account of how he covered the Buenos Aires protests in follow-ups to a Mother Jones article headlined Bill O’Reilly Has His Own Brian Williams Problem.
Not long after The O’Reilly Factor telecast, NYT published an article about how O’Reilly and Fox News had “redouble[d] defense of his Falklands reporting.” Paragraph of that article said: “Mr. O’Reilly’s efforts to refute the claims by Mother Jones and some former CBS News colleagues occurred both on the air and off on Monday. During a phone conversation, he told a reporter for The New York Times that there would be repercussions if he felt any of the reporter’s coverage was inappropriate. “I am coming after you with everything I have,” Mr. O’Reilly said. “You can take it as a threat.”
The New York Times journalists who wrote the article, apparently unused to having people they cover try to strong-arm them, corrected that lead-burying error by drawing attention to Graf 6 on Twitter:
Meanwhile, the idea of O’Reilly going after the New York Times caused such a kerfuffle, the report spread like a bad rash among reporters covering the O’Reilly in Buenos Aires story.
If only the NYT article had published long before last night’s O’Reilly Factor, his ratings could have been stupendous. As it was, word he would air the CBS footage he promised would vindicate him drove viewers to his show by double-digit jumps compared to one week earlier. An average of 3.3 million tuned in to his show last night — his biggest audience this year to date, and since November 25 of last year during the Ferguson verdict news cycle. In the news demo, he clocked 568,000 viewers, besting CNN’s entire primetime lineup last night — in total viewers.
PREVIOUS, MONDAY PM: “I want to stop this now,” Bill O’Reilly said tonight on The O’Reilly Factor after showing video CBS News had posted online from its coverage of Buenos Aires demonstrations that erupted after Argentina surrendered to the British in the Falklands War in June 1982. (Watch CBS’ video above.)
The Fox News Channel star also read, as expected, from a Christian Science Monitor article written at that time, in which the demonstrations were described as having reached a point at which “police were unable to control angry mobs that turned the Plaza de Mayo … into a battle zone.” For days now, O’Reilly has addressed reports questioning his account of how he covered the Buenos Aires protests — triggered by that Mother Jones article penned by David Corn.
Separately, the author of a 1982 New York Times article fired back after O’Reilly read the article during a Sunday appearance on FNC’s all-things-media show Mediabuzz. In a Facebook post, the author dinged O’Reilly for leaving out one part of a sentence about a police officer whom he’d reported had fired five shots — the “over the heads of” fleeing demonstrators part.
O’Reilly’s guest tonight, Don Browne, spent 30 years with NBC and NBCU, joining the company in 1979 as Miami bureau chief, where O’Reilly said he oversaw NBC News’s coverage of the 74-day Falklands War between the UK and Argentina.
“At first, Buenos Aires was a pretty nice place to be if you were covering the war, but as it turned out, it got progressively more intense,” Browne said. “These were veteran correspondents, we saw the situation escalating,” he continued, describing the situation as “business as usual, what they were sent there to do.”
Browne stopped short of calling it a “riot” or a “war zone.”
“You call it a riot – it was a very intense situation where people got hurt and it was a very serious confrontation, and it was a defining moment, when the populace really turned on the military,” Browne said.
Pressed by O’Reilly, Browne said, “Any situation like that, where you bring that kind of intensity together in a protest where the police and, in this case the military, are reacting aggressively, it’s a dangerous cocktail. “
O’Reilly said in wrapping up the segment: “So there you go. I want to stop this now. I hope we can stop it. I really do.”