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CNN tape debunks O’Reilly lie

If Fox News is nothing more than the propaganda arm of America’s political right, they’ll ignore the furor over Bill O’Reilly’s serial lies and continue employing him as their chief propagandist. After all, Hitler didn’t fire Goebbels for lying. And while a real journalist would (be forced to) resign upon being caught fabricating stories, O’Reilly has every personal incentive to stick it out, in terms of what high-profile propagandists get paid relative to what journeyman journalists make, and neither Fox nor he have anything to gain by surrendering to their ideological enemies.

untitledThat seems to be where this is going: CBS, CNN, and others report; Fox ignores, while O’Reilly attacks and threatens. This works for Fox and O’Reilly as long as their audience lap it up. If you’re a closed-minded ideologue who wants slanted news and validation of your beliefs, they deliver both in a way that makes you feel better about yourself. We don’t live in a world where everyone values truth or rationality.

But some of us do. And in that vein, Politico reports,

“CNN has published a recording of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly from the 1970s that indicates he was not present outside the Florida house where an associate of Lee Harvey Oswald committed suicide. In the taped telephone conversation conducted in March 1977 between O’Reilly, then a correspondent with Dallas television station WFAA-TV, and Gaeton Fonzi, an investigator on the House Select Committee on Assassinations, O’Reilly can be heard telling Fonzi he’s planning to travel to Florida to investigate the suicide of George de Mohrenschildt, an associate of Oswald’s who had killed himself that day. In the conversation, provided to CNN by Fonzi’s widow, Fonzi tells O’Reilly about the suicide. O’Reilly in turn replies he’ll travel to Florida the next day. ‘I’m coming down there tomorrow,’ O’Reilly tells Fonzi. ‘I’m coming to Florida. … Now, OK, I’m gonna try to get a night flight out of here, if I can.'”

That’s not the story O’Reilly tells.

“In his book ‘Killing Kennedy,’ and on Fox News, O’Reilly has claimed that he was standing on the porch of de Mohrenschildt’s daughter’s house in Florida when he heard a gunshot sound, which he said was the sound of de Mohrenschildt killing himself.”

As for Fox,

“Fox News hasn’t responded to the specific allegations regarding the de Mohrenschildt suicide anecdote but has defended its star host as he faces a series of other charges that he’s been exaggerating his reporting history, calling the allegations an orchestrated attack by left-wing advocates. A spokesperson for Henry Holt, the publisher of ‘Killing Kennedy,’ told CNN, ‘This one passage is immaterial to the story being told by this terrific book and we have no plans to look into this matter.'”

For people who care a whit about journalistic integrity, it’s enough to make a pumpkin want to puke.

 

 


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