Fox News host Bill O’Reilly told colleague John Stossel on Tuesday that the recent criticism directed at him was not only based on professional jealousy, but political maneuvering.
“We are putting tremendous pressure on the Obama administration to fight the terror savages,” O’Reilly said. “And with Hillary Clinton coming up in 2016, [if the] network wasn’t around, what would happen?”
O’Reilly invited Stossel onto his show amid new allegations questioning his reporting. Media Matters reported earlier in the day that former colleagues of his at WFAA-TV in Dallas have slammed him for claiming to be at the door when George de Mohrenschildt, a Russian immigrant and friend of Lee Harvey Oswald, killed himself in 1977 inside his Florida home.
O’Reilly stated in his book covering the assassination of President John F. Kennedy that he was at de Mohrenschildt’s home to interview him on March 29, 1977 — the day de Mohrenschildt had been contacted by the House Select Committee on Assassinations — when de Mohrenschildt killed himself.
“He stole that article out of the newspaper,” reporter Byron Harris, who worked for WFAA for 40 years, told Media Matters. “I guarantee Channel 8 didn’t send him to Florida to do that story because it was a newspaper story, it was broken by the Dallas Morning News.”
O’Reilly did not directly address these new allegations on Tuesday, marking a change in tone from his aggressive defense of his reporting in Argentina following the end of the Falklands War. Instead, he painted Fox as the target of an ideological attack.
“The reason is fairly simple — Fox gives voice to conservatives and traditional people much more than most national news agencies do,” he said. “On a personal note, I’m pretty tired of all the garbage. I think I can say, with certainty, that many of my colleagues here at FNC are, as well.”
Stossel, who worked with O’Reilly at ABC News, said officials there enjoyed his work until he published his first book, in which he identified himself publicly as a libertarian.
“We have broken the code — ‘civilized people can’t think that way. There have to be tougher gun laws. There must be abortion on demand. There must be a big welfare state,'” Stossel argued. “Civilized person don’t think that way. If you do, you’re a cretin and we’re gonna get you.'”
Watch the interview, as posted by Media Matters on Tuesday, below.