Bill O'Reilly has already been compared to Brian Williams amid the controversy of alleged falsehoods in O'Reilly's reporting, but Media Matters' Joe Strupp went a step further on Wednesday, comparing O'Reilly to disgraced New York Times writer Jayson Blair during a HuffPost Live interview.
Strupp added to the firestorm surrounding O'Reilly on Tuesday, when he and two other writers published their own report claiming O'Reilly lied about overhearing the fatal gunshot in the 1977 suicide of George de Mohrenschildt, who was involved in the investigation of JFK's assassination. In his HuffPost Live interview, Strupp drew parallels between O'Reilly and embattled reporters like Williams, "60 Minutes" correspondent Lara Logan and Blair.
When host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani called the Blair reference a "stark, harsh comparison," Strupp argued "the level of reaction is what is important."
"O'Reilly is the top face of Fox News, and even the other night he was bragging about how his latest ratings are higher than anyone else in his time slot. So for him to have a question of whether he's accurate hurts the brand as much as Jayson Blair hurt The New York Times," Strupp said. "Did he do things to the level of Jayson Blair and to the amount of Jayson Blair? Perhaps not -- that we know of. But he's also a bigger name, a bigger face of the franchise than Blair was at The New York Times."
Interviews with two former colleagues who worked with O'Reilly in 1977 characterized him as more concerned with his own profile than the grind of reporting the news, according to Strupp.
"They knew him to be someone who would, in their own words, not only take stories that were broken elsewhere and claim them as his own, but didn't seem to want to work with others in terms of finding news. He wanted to get press for himself, promote himself," Strupp said.
Strupp said neither O'Reilly nor Fox has responded to Media Matters' attempts to contact them. Mother Jones' David Corn, who co-wrote the original report alleging O'Reilly's fabrications about the Falklands War, also told HuffPost Live on Wednesday that O'Reilly "still has yet to refute a single fact" in Corn's story.
Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Media Matters' Joe Strupp above.
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