Truth in journalism has become harder and harder to find over the years. Despite the increasing, and widely available news that can be found on the internet and through social media, more doesn’t always mean better.
Brian Williams lied about being in a military helicopter that was shot down in Iraq. Following the news that outed Williams, the NBC News host was suspended for six months, without pay. Williams was always considered a fairly moderate news anchor, and because of this, the right-wing media was quickly to attack him, labeling him as just another “liberal” liar. While most anchors and contributors at the right wing news station “Fox News” piled on Williams, one person who didn’t was host of “The O’Reilly Factor,” Bill O’Reilly. Why did O’Reilly not only fail to attack Williams like his co-workers, but also defend him? Maybe it’s because he has similar skeletons in his own closet, as report by Mother Jones on Feb. 19.
The liberal magazine “Mother Jones,” led by By David Corn, broke a bombshell story on Thursday night, claiming that O’Reilly had fabricated a story about being in the middle of a war zone during the Falklands war in 1982. Mother Jones notes that while O’Reilly was working as a reporter for CBS, no one from the team had even gotten close to the alleged “war zone.” “Nobody from CBS got to the Falklands,” veteran CBS host Bob Schieffer said. “For us, you were a thousand miles from where the fighting was. So we had some great meals.”
“O’Reilly has repeatedly told his audience that he was a war correspondent during the Falklands war and that he experienced combat during that 1982 conflict between the United Kingdom and Argentina.”
Following the release of the Mother Jones article, O’Reilly and Fox News went into damage control. The network that just last month couldn’t stop criticizing Brian Williams for a false story, have changed their tune when it comes to one of their own. O’Reilly is pushing back at the story from Mother Jones, calling it a “lie.” The Fox News host didn’t stop there, calling David Corn, the author of the piece and chief of the magazine’s Washington bureau, a “guttersnipe liar” and a “disgusting piece of garbage.”
Doing their part to protect O’Reilly, Fox News has gone into overdrive to promote O’Reilly’s Feb. 20 show where the host will continue to defend himself against the allegations by Corn and Mother Jones. If the claims made by Mother Jones are true, the same source that broke the infamous “47 percent video” that sunk Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, then Fox News and O’Reilly validate the years of criticism that has been labeled on the news organization.
Fox News has been accused of bias in the past. Though they claim to be a “fair and balanced” news station, their right-wing slant has been seen for nearly two decades. Fox News isn’t the only cable news station that has been hit with accusations of political bias. MSNBC, the third ranked cable news station behind Fox News and CNN, is comprised of almost all liberal-leaning anchors, with the exception being Joe Scarborough, who hosts “Morning Joe” during a weekday morning block.
Gone is Walter Cronkite and the days of straight-news coverage, as television news is dominated by the likes of Fox News and MSNBC, and the radio airwaves littered with an overwhelming amount of right-wing talk. Not all is lost, as Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff do as close to a “Cronkite” as you will find on PBS NewsHour. With few exceptions to the rule, cable news outlets prove that there are far too many examples of hypocrisy in journalism, with news stations and anchors sacrificing truth to push there own partisan agenda.