The questions keep piling up for Bill O’Reilly, and increasingly those questions are being raised by a liberal media watchdog that has long feuded with the conservative Fox News host.
For the second time in as many days, Media Matters for America on Wednesday released a report detailing “an apparent fabrication” by O’Reilly.
The latest round of scrutiny is over a claim by O’Reilly that he witnessed the murder of nuns in El Salvador.
Media Matters produced two clips of O’Reilly talking about the murders. During a 2012 broadcast of “The O’Reilly Factor,” the host recalled describing the atrocity to his mother.
“When I would tell her, hey, mom, I was in El Salvador and I saw nuns get shot in the back of the head, she almost couldn’t process it,” O’Reilly said. “She couldn’t process it, you know.”
O’Reilly didn’t detail when or where in El Salvador he saw those murders.
The country was rocked in December 1980 by the murder of three American nuns and a lay woman. O’Reilly notes in his book “The No Spin Zone” that he went to El Salvador to cover the strife shortly after he was made a correspondent by CBS News in 1981. In a 2009 interview, he said he had arrived in the country “right after” the murder of the nuns.
Media Matters cited a professor of religion at the University of Florida who wrote that “no priests or nuns were killed in El Salvador for more than eight years” after January 1981. The professor, Anna L. Peterson, also noted that “thousands of lay Christian activists continued to die at the hands of death squads and the military.”
Peterson did not respond to CNNMoney’s request for comment.
Media Matters has been digging in to O’Reilly’s past statements since Mother Jones magazine questioned O’Reilly’s claim to have been in a “war zone” during the Falklands war. He was actually reporting from Buenos Aires, thousands of miles from the Falkland Islands.
On Tuesday, Media Matters challenged O’Reilly’s repeated claims to have been at the scene when George de Mohrenschildt, a friend of Lee Harvey Oswald, committed suicide.
Media Matters, which is dedicated to correcting misinformation in conservative media, has long kept a critical eye on O’Reilly and his colleagues at Fox News. The group is currently urging supporters to demand that Fox News “hold O’Reilly accountable for his deception.”
O’Reilly has dismissed Media Matters in the past as a “vicious” propaganda outfit.
“Those fascists have tried everything they can try to get me off the air,” O’Reilly said in 2012.
In a statement to CNNMoney on Wednesday, Fox News made it clear that it still has O’Reilly’s back.
“Bill O’Reilly has already addressed several claims leveled against him,” a Fox News spokesperson said. “This is nothing more than an orchestrated campaign by far left advocates Mother Jones and Media Matters. Responding to the unproven accusation du jour has become an exercise in futility. FOX News maintains its staunch support of O’Reilly, who is no stranger to calculated onslaughts.”