There has been a lot of spinning going on, but it is not on the part of Bill O’Reilly. While I have no dog in this hunt, I do side unreservedly with Mr. O’Reilly for the following reasons.
First, a picture is worth a thousand words. When you review the CBS footage of the 1982 reportage in Argentina, the sights, sounds and voice-over of Dan Rather (no conservative apologist, he) the unmistakable conclusion is that this quacks and walks like a duck, or in this case a war zone.
Second, consider the inconsistencies of Mr. O’s detractors. An example, CBS correspondent Eric Engberg now says that the episode in question was the calmest incident ever. Yet his contemporaneous 1982 reporting noted that the police were firing tear gas and guns with plastic bullets and that people were seriously injured. Which raises the question: which time was Mr. Engberg lying?
Third, the minutiae of the attack. A “war zone” is variously defined as a battle between belligerents on the high seas, in which case O’Reilly is in the wrong, or as an area marked by extreme violence, which vindicates O’Reilly. As does the fact that at best the charge against O’Reilly amounts to a splitting of verbal hairs.
Fourth, the differentiator. O’Reilly’s critics attempt to equate O’Reilly’s past reportage with Brian Williams’s. Yet the two should not be “conflated.” O’Reilly is a commentator to whom I turn for interpretation of established facts. Williams on the other hand we relied upon for facts in the absence of views or interpretation.
Speaking of Mr. Williams, perhaps there is an easy solution to the six-year nightmare that has been the Obama Administration. I only know that Obama is president because on Election Night 2008 Mr. Williams told me that Obama had attained 270 electoral votes. Could it be that McCain really won…?