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David Corn Hangs Up On Hugh Hewitt After 45-Minute Grilling on Bill O'Reilly

Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt grills David Corn of Mother Jones on his claim that then-CBS News correspondent Bill O'Reilly exaggerated the capacity of his involvement in covering the Falklands War.

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: As Joe Walsh said, do the show, go play it straight, he’ll play fair. But you’re asking me questions you didn’t ask Bill O’Reilly.


DC: So you know, I’m given you one more…

HH: Here’s Eric Engberg…

DC: If you want to talk about the article or not, Hugh, because I’ve got better things to do than help you fill time on the radio.

HH: Eric Engberg said yesterday, “We saw what was a moderate-sized riot, what was a couple of thousand people attacking the Casa de Rosada.” But he also said nobody attacked the soldiers, nobody attacked the police. That account is now contradicted by a CNN story quoting CNN from the time saying, “A squad of teargas-armed troops and a crowd hurling coins, rocks and even bricks at police and journalists.” Is it not possible that we’ve got a different perspective thing going on here, David, just possible that some people saw different things?

DC: The issue, okay, Hugh, now that’s a good question.

HH: Oh, David…

DC: Let’s stick to the facts of the issue.

HH: David, all of my questions are good questions. You don’t want to go where your credibility gets damaged. I understand that. It’s not very courageous, and it’s not very intrepid. You’re not willing to take tough questions that expose it, but go ahead to this.

DC: Well, no, no, if you’re going to start berating and insulting, then I’m not wasting any more time.

HH: I’m not berating and insulting. You’re trying to steer the interview.

DC: Listen to me, you asked me to come on the show. You owe me a measure of courtesy and let me have my say as well. If you want to just, you know, keep firing off things that are irrelevant, then there’s no point to go on. But I will answer your question. There’s always a question of perspective and of interpretation almost in any human event that happens. But there are sometimes, there still are facts that can be established and not established. When Bill O’Reilly says, as he has said the last few days, I never said I was in the Falklands, and there’s video from two years of Bill O’Reilly saying I was in the war zone in Argentina in the Falklands, in the Falklands, not in Buenos Aires, that is an incontrovertible fact. Now to the point that you talk about with Eric Engberg, you know, he describes the protest the way he saw it. Bill O’Reilly maybe saw it in a different way, but what Bill O’Reilly has said, repeated times, is at this protest, many people were killed, his words, many people were killed when Argentine soldiers gunned down civilians. There is no account of that that shows that. There is videotape that he shot himself, and other CBS people shot that same day, that don’t show Argentine soldiers shooting down people. All the press reporting that we have found that Erik Wemple in the Washington Post and other people have looked at, all say nothing about fatalities. And in fact, yesterday on Howie Kurtz’ show, O’Reilly read an article in which he said, this backs up my claim, backs up my claim, and he starts reading it, and he says one policeman pulled a pistol firing five shots. He ended the sentence there. In the New York Times, it continues, firing five shots over the heads of fleeing demonstrators. That’s not gunning people down. It may be bad. It may be worrisome. You may be fearful of it when you see it, but it’s not what he claimed happened. And today, just hours ago, Rich Meislin, the author, the reporter of the New York Times story that Bill O’Reilly claims backs up his story, put up a Facebook post, and he said no such thing. Bill O’Reilly cut out an important phrase when he read excerpts of my report. And then when he goes on to say as far as I know, no demonstrators were shot or killed by police in Buenos Aires that night. And he goes on to say what I saw in the streets that night was a demonstration – passionate, chaotic, and memorable. But it would be hard to confuse it with being in a war zone. Numerous, and this is me talking now, that was him. Numerous correspondents who were in Buenos Aires for the protests have said over and over again it was not a war zone. Maybe it was worrisome, maybe it was a riot that out of control, but if you covered a protest in Washington during the Vietnam War, in which there was scuffling and bottles thrown and fires set, are you allowed to say that you were a correspondent in the Vietnam War zone?

The full transcript is available here.

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