The journalists who raised the red flags on O’Reilly’s statements — David Corn and Daniel Schulman, of Mother Jones — started at a disadvantage. These weren’t war veterans who felt wronged by O’Reilly’s portrayal of events. They were liberal reporters at an admittedly liberal magazine going after the paragon of right-wing punditry. No matter what goods they had on O’Reilly, it would be easy for him to dismiss these detractors as left-wing zealots bent on his destruction (which he did.)
Yeah! They’re liberals at a liberal magazine with liberal leanings and liberal tendencies and they probably smoke liberal weed and have liberal gay sex or something. So what if they were RIGHT? I mean, they’re able to be dismissed, Politico tells us, and who are we to argue with who Politico tells us is dismissable? They’re the number one authority on dismissability!
Instead, the debate has shifted to whether or not O’Reilly was actually in “a war zone” or a “combat situation,” as he has repeatedly claimed. Well, no, he wasn’t. He was present at a violent protest — or “a riot,” or “a demonstration” — that took place immediately after the conclusion of the war. This is a major embellishment, defensible only under the most forgiving parameters of what constitutes wartime activity. Whatever the case, an embellishment is not going to lead Roger Ailes to fire his most valuable personnel asset.
Not with the “objective” political press giving him a pass, after all! I mean, O’Reilly has value! We know this because Politico told us so! The very same brain trust that brought us “George W. Bush gets a do-over for Katrina” and “the media is too sympathetic to Ferguson protesters!”
There is one detail in Mother Jones’ account that is rather damning: In his book, O’Reilly writes that “many were killed” during the riot. The CBS News report from the riot does not mention any deaths. The former CBS News staffers who spoke with CNN over the weekend likewise claimed that no one died during the riots. “There were certainly no dead people,” Jim Forrest, a sound engineer for CBS in Buenos Aires, told CNN’s Brian Stelter. “Had there been dead people, they would have sent more camera crews.” Manny Alvarez, a cameraman called the claims of deaths “outrageous,” and added: “People being mowed down? Where was that? That would have been great footage. That would have turned into the story.”
So they were right about something important? I thought they were liberal dismissables who didn’t really have a case? This changes everything!
The trouble is, it’s probably too late for that to matter.
Why? Why is it too late for that to matter? Because the media, of which Dylan Byers is absolutely not a part, says it’s too late, which means there’s nothing anyone can do. We are all powerless in the face of Politico’s pronouncements. And besides, liberal liberal liberal liberal.