As Bill O’Reilly continues to be under fire for lying about his experiences of being under fire in a war zone, military veterans have declared war on the Fox News host for stealing valor.
According to Stars And Stripes,
‘Stolen Valor’ is a term applied to the phenomenon of people falsely claiming military awards or badges they did not earn, service they did not perform, Prisoner of War experiences that never happened, and other tales of military derring-do that exist only in their minds.
“Service they did not perform” and “tales of military derring-do that exist only in their minds” are certainly terms that apply to Bill O’Reilly, who was just busted by Mother Jones for lying about being in the Falkland War in 1982 as a journalist and allegedly saving the life of his photographer while being chased by Argentinian soldiers. The only problem with O’Reilly’s war story is that no American journalists were allowed into the war zone by the British military. In short, O’Reilly wasn’t in the Falklands and has bragged about his false war zone experience ever since at the expense of the true heroic journalists who actually risked and lost their lives reporting on the conflict.
That’s why military veterans are now accusing the Fox host of stealing valor.
On Friday, VoteVets.org issued a statement condemning O’Reilly for lying about his war zone experiences. Jon Soltz, the president of the 400,000 member organization, released the following statement to Media Matters.
“NBC acted completely appropriately in taking Brian Williams off the air and looking into claims he’s made over the years. Fox News has to do the same thing. The issue, for me, isn’t that Fox has been caught off guard, and didn’t realize O’Reilly was telling possibly false tales. That I can accept. It’s what do they do about it now? That will tell us a lot about how seriously they take their news organization.
Men and women have fought, died, been wounded, and scarred by war. There are many journalists who actually were in the crossfire, who died, trying to bring the story to the American people. What Bill O’Reilly has done is steal their valor, and it is wrong. It makes it seem like anyone can head on over to a war zone. But honestly it is more insulting to the war reporters who never bragged about their war experience, but just kept their head down and did their job. Some of them died doing that job. In my mind, those reporters were heroes.”
Understandably, the military veterans group expects Fox News to do the right thing and take Bill O’Reilly off the air. After all, O’Reilly has been blasting NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams for lying about his own service in a war zone. And as someone who constantly claims that he loves the military and our veterans and preaches about personal responsibility, O’Reilly owes it to the real journalists who risked their own necks in combat to resign his post and apologize for his actions. But O’Reilly’s lie is far worse since he actually was never in the war zone to begin with. Not only has he bragged about being in a war zone when he clearly wasn’t, he preached about trust in journalism in his own criticism of Williams. If he wasn’t before, O’Reilly is certainly guilty of being a hypocrite now.
If Brian Williams has to pay the consequences for his actions, so does Bill O’Reilly, especially if Fox “News” wants to keep pretending that they hold their employees to the same journalistic standards that other news organizations apply to their own staffers.