Eric Engberg was a correspondent for CBS News for 22 years and reported from Argentina with Bill O’Reilly during the Falklands War, an assignment whose details have brought the FOX News host headaches this week.
CNN REPORTER: Is Bill O’Reilly lying when he describes this combat situation?
ERIC ENGBERG: Well, I think what he is doing is he is trying to build it up into a more frightening and deadly situation than it was. It wasn’t a “combat” situation by any sense of the word that I know.
There were no people killed. He said he saw troops fire into the crowd. I never saw that and I don’t know anyone who did. I was there on the scene. Not only did I not hear shots, I didn’t see ambulances, tanks, armored cars, all the things you would expect to see if people were shot…
There were five CBS news correspondents including [O’Reilly] assigned to that bureau under the direction of Larry Doyle, one of our very best field producers… nobody stayed in the hotel room because they were afraid, we were all working, and we saw what was a moderate sized riot…
Nobody attacked the soldiers, nobody attacked the police, there was nobody lying on the ground when it was over… all the CBS people did their jobs covered the demonstration, brought their video back to be used in a story that night, and that was when O’Reilly bucked at the idea of turning his tape shot by his cameraman over to the unit putting together the story. When Doyle said Bob Schieffer will do the story and will use the video your crew shot, he said “I didn’t come down here to shoot video so this old man can use it in his story.”
“What old man are you talking about,” asked Larry Doyle, and O’Reilly said “Schieffer.” Well, the wrestled the tape from him, and used it in the Schieffer piece, and Doyle turned to O’Reilly and said I think you’re better leave, you don’t belong here…
On O’Reilly’s claim he saw shooting in the street and had a weapon pointed at him:
I don't know of any American foreign correspondent who had a weapon pointed at him. But the important thing is, I didn't hear any gunfire. Not only did I not hear any gunfire, as I said, I didn't hear any sirens.
I came to Argentina from years of experience in Washington covering anti-war demonstrations against the Vietnam War in Washington. I saw more violence in anti-war demonstrations in D.C. than I saw in Argentina that night...
CNN HOST: I don't want to make this into he said, he said. People say you have a vendetta against O’Reilly, described him as a clown on Facebook. Is this about personal dispute?
ENGBERG: No. He started personal dispute saying we were all hiding in our hotel rooms.
CNN: That sure doesn't sound like anybody was hiding in hotel rooms that not.
ENGBERG: I have this personal dispute with him. He's not a real reporter. He was not in a combat zone that night. This was not a combat zone. Not even close.