NEW YORK – Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly says he thinks television viewers trust him despite accusations he stretched the truth when he was a young reporter covering straight news.
He said on the CBS “Late Show” on Tuesday the controversy “worked out OK” for him and he “got even more viewers.” He said his ratings have gone up by 20 percent.
“Late Show” host David Letterman, who’s retiring soon, teased O’Reilly, asking whether his ratings went up “when people think you were making stuff up?”
When Letterman asked O’Reilly if he ever fibbed on the air, O’Reilly replied, “Not that I know of.”
O'Reilly has been accused by liberal media watchdogs of falsely claiming he was in a “war zone” while reporting from Argentina during the Falklands War in the 1980s when he was far from the front. O'Reilly covered an anti-government demonstration and has defended his characterization. He also has disputed accusations related to his work in El Salvador and in Florida.
O’Reilly pointed to his years of strong ratings at Fox and said of his viewers, “I think they trust me, and I’m glad they do.”
He also said NBC nightly news anchor Brian Williams, suspended for six months for making misleading statements about his coverage of the Iraq War, eventually should be reinstated. He said Williams was a victim of the sport “let’s destroy the famous person.”