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The massive lefty conspiracy against Bill O’Reilly

(AP Photo/Jeff Christensen, file)

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly wasted no time last week in casting his detractors in precisely the terms most recognizable to his network’s audience. “This guy is [a] far-left assassin,” said O’Reilly. “That’s what he does.”

The alleged assassin is David Corn, the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones magazine and a co-author (with Daniel Schulman) of a story that kicked off a week of archival O’Reilly-bashing. (Disclosure: The wife of the Erik Wemple Blog is a Mother Jones staff writer.) Corn and Schulman reported that O’Reilly had exaggerated and spread falsehoods about his role in covering the Falkland Islands war in 1982, including a claim that he worked from a “combat” situation (he was far from the hostilities between Argentina and British forces), that “many were killed” in a post-war protest (contemporaneous reports disagree) and that he helped an allegedly injured CBS News cameraman to safety in the melee (highly disputed).

“Nothing is going to happen to David Corn,” railed O’Reilly last Friday night. “Mother Jones and the far-left web sites couldn’t care less about the truth. They’re in the business to injure. This is a political hit job.”

And any worthwhile lefty political hit job needs an army of lefty foot soldiers. Like Eric Engberg, the 27-year correspondent for CBS News who worked alongside O’Reilly in the Falklands coverage and advanced the Mother Jones story. In a Facebook post, Engberg largely backed up the main points of the Mother Jones piece and added new material, like the claim that O’Reilly had disobeyed orders from Buenos Aires bureau chief Larry Doyle not to use camera lights because they might attract undue attention. Camera-light critiques are a well-worn obsession of committed, liberal ex-foreign correspondents for major TV networks.

The eagle-eyed O’Reilly wasn’t fooled at all by the baton hand-off between Mother Jones and Engberg. “From the very beginning, I said this was a political hit piece,” O’Reilly said on Sunday’s Fox News program “MediaBuzz.” “Do you know that Eric Engberg was written about by Bernie Goldberg in his book, ‘Bias,’ as one of the worst correspondents on CBS News, and Bernie goes into how he smeared Steve Forbes?” In a post questioning this blog’s conflict of interest in the O’Reilly story, Tim Graham of NewsBusters, a blog that spotlights liberal media abuses, wrote, “Wemple could have asked whether Engberg is — well, about as objective/liberal as Mother Jones.”

Around this time, the liberals started popping up all over the place. Mia Fabius, an office manager at the CBS News Miami bureau who is close to the allegedly injured cameraman, told CNN’s Brian Stelter that he’d never mentioned any Argentina injury. Office manager is a very liberal occupation. Manny Alvarez, another CBS News cameraman in Buenos Aires, told Stelter, “If somebody got hurt, we all would have known.” Typical collectivist sentiment.

And don’t forget about the leanings of Stelter himself. “CNN tried to exploit the situation because a guy over there named Brian Stelter is another far-left zealot masquerading as a journalist,” said O’Reilly last Friday night. “CNN can do a lot better than this guy.” You got that right, O’Reilly. Just have a look at the commentary that Stelter was spreading over CNN airwaves last Friday, just hours before O’Reilly’s dead-on evaluation:

Apparatchik Stelter: “Yes, he was in Argentina, and yes, there was a riot,” said the avowed lib in a chat with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin. “And yes, he was present for the riot. But there are some questions about whether you could really call that a combat situation and really call that a war zone. I think Mother Jones is on to something when they pointed that out. But is it going to change people’s minds? I don’t think so.”

Comrade Stelter: “The facts here are not really in dispute,” said the unrepentant lefty, trying to suggest that the facts are more important than the motivations of those who cite them. “Maybe O’Reilly doesn’t like the messenger, but the facts here are that O’Reilly does seem to have puffed up his story about his covering this experience many, many years ago. And by the way, you know, he was actually doing reporting. He was there. He was in Argentina.”

Next step in the story of O’Reilly’s questionable recollections came from Media Matters for America. Liberal conspiracy case closed. Believe it or not, though, it gets even worse. Media Matters reported that O’Reilly had falsely claimed to have been nearby for the March 1977 Florida suicide of one George de Mohrenschildt, a Russian emigre, confidant of Lee Harvey Oswald and figure in the investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. “As I knocked on the door, I heard a shotgun blast. He had killed himself,” O’Reilly had written in “Kennedy’s Last Days.”

In debunking O’Reilly’s eyewitness-to-history claims, Media Matters was Media Matters, a patent hive of socialists. But not only that! To advance its case that O’Reilly was lying, Media Matters relied on the accounts of two former colleagues of O’Reilly’s in the mid-1970s at the Dallas TV station WFAA-TV. Duh — everyone knows that WFAA in the mid- to late-1970s was overrun with communists. Common knowledge among media reporters. Anyone unfamiliar with the names Byron Harris and Tracy Rowlett should study up on their history.

In a move to further isolate and stereotype itself, Media Matters came up yesterday with some stuff about how O’Reilly had claimed some other foreign-reporting heroics. “I’ve seen guys gun down nuns in El Salvador,” said the host on his radio show in 2005. That claim was contradicted, Media Matters pointed out, by a comment he’d made in a 2009 interview on WVVH-TV, another lefty outpost that doubtless twisted his words to set him up for a hit six years later by Media Matters.

Fox News struck precisely the right tone in rebutting the claims of 40-odd highly organized liberals spread around the country and united behind the single, random purpose of dethroning the King of Cable News. “Bill O’Reilly has already addressed several claims leveled against him,” noted a Fox News spokesperson. “This is nothing more than an orchestrated campaign by far-left advocates Mother Jones and Media Matters. Responding to the unproven accusation du jour has become an exercise in futility. FOX News maintains its staunch support of O’Reilly, who is no stranger to calculated onslaughts.”

O’Reilly himself mucked things up later by releasing a statement that, for some stupid reason, steered away from motivations into the merits. “While in El Salvador, reporters were shown horrendous images of violence that were never broadcast, including depictions of nuns who were murdered. The mention of the nuns on my program came the day of the Newtown massacre (December 14, 2012). The segment was about evil and how hard it is for folks to comprehend it. I used the murdered nuns as an example of that evil. That’s what I am referring to when I say ‘I saw nuns get shot in the back of the head.’ No one could possibly take that segment as reporting on El Salvador.”