UPDATE 10:50 AM: Mother Jones has published the list of questions it sent to Fox News and to its primetime star Bill O’Reilly before publishing an article by David Corn and Daniel Schulman in which it says it has documented how Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has “mischaracterized his wartime reporting experience.”
PREVIOUSLY: The editors in chief at Mother Jones this morning sent this email/letter to Fox News EVP Programming Bill Shine and one of the network’s communications execs, saying it is concerned for the safety of the author of its article on O’Reilly’s record, after O’Reilly called for him to be “in the kill zone.”
Mother Jones writer David Corn yesterday responded to Bill O’Reilly’s comments on the magazine’s piece about O’Reilly’s claims regarding his work for CBS News covering the Falklands war, saying “A discerning reader of Deadline can easily see that Bill O’Reilly is hiding behind name-calling, rather than dealing with the substance of the matter,” and that Mother Jones sent O’Reilly a long list of detailed questions about his comments regarding his experience as a war reporter. ” He and Fox News declined to respond. Instead, O’Reilly hurls invective, seemingly to distract,” Corn told Deadline.
“It’s a total hit piece,” Bill O’Reilly told Deadline about the report Corn wrote in Mother Jones about O’Reilly’s claims in re his coverage of Falklands war. In the post, Corn said some of O’Reilly’s stories “don’t withstand scrutiny — even claiming he acted heroically in a war zone that he apparently never set foot in.”
O’Reilly blasted the piece to other news outlets as well, and is continuing to do so today — during which he has been quoted by at least one outlet, TV Newser, as saying he expected those reporters with whom he spoke to “verify what I’m saying, because it’s easily verifiable, then I expect David Corn to be in the kill zone.”
Mother Jones‘ EIC’s fired off this letter this morning to the Fox News execs (we have reached out to FNC for comment):
We are writing with alarm about Bill O’Reilly’s response to our report investigating his characterizations of his reporting in “war zones.” We welcome criticism, but calling for our reporter “to be in the kill zone” crosses a line. Like everyone in media today, we are concerned about the safety of our staff. We’d have hoped that statements with this kind of violent tone would not come from a fellow media professional.
For a full day before publishing the story, starting at 8:30 a.m., Mother Jones sought comment or clarification from Fox News. This included sending emails with a detailed list of questions. After multiple calls and emails to you both went unanswered, we published the story at 5:26 p.m.
After the article was posted, Mr. O’Reilly spoke to multiple reporters for other outlets. He did not address the substance of the article. Instead, he called David Corn “a liar,” “a guttersnipe,” “a disgusting piece of garbage,” and “a left-wing assassin.” He suggested that Corn deserved to be “in the kill zone.”
Mr ‘Reilly has indicated that he plans to address the Mother Jones story on his show tonight. He should use that occasion to renounce his “kill zone” remark and apologize. If he does not, he should issue a separate statement renouncing the remark and apologizing.
We would appreciate a response. And of course, we remain very interested in any comments responding to the article itself.
Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery