O'Reilly on Kerry in Cambodia: "I know he wasn't there. So take it to the bank. ... I don't mislead anybody"
Research ››› ››› GABE WILDAU
FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly is so certain that Senator John Kerry (D-MA) never entered Cambodia during Kerry's U.S. Navy service in Vietnam that O'Reilly told NPR senior correspondent and FOX News contributor Juan Williams, Media Matters for America has noted, Kerry's chief accuser, John E. O'Neill -- co-founder of the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and co-author of Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry -- has been discredited by revelations that O'Neill, during a brief 1971 meeting, told then-President Richard Nixon that he himself had, in fact, been in Cambodia. O'Neill wrote in Unfit for Command that he knew "Kerry was never in Cambodia" because neither he nor any other swift boaters were allowed to cross the Cambodian border.
MMFA has also noted that historian Douglas Brinkley's book Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War indicates that Kerry's operations on Christmas Eve 1968 took place "only miles from the Cambodian border"; according to Slate.com's Fred Kaplan, it's entirely possible that Kerry did enter Cambodia given what historians know about U.S. incursions into Cambodia at that time.
On the August 24 broadcast of The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, Williams accurately asserted that Kerry's critics "can't prove that he didn't go into" Cambodia. But O'Reilly insisted that he knew for sure:
WILLIAMS: He [Kerry] definitely embellished on the Cambodia deal --
WILLIAMS: But that's different from saying something is not true. And even in the Cambodia deal, they can't prove that he didn't go into Vietnam [sic; it's clear Williams intended to say "Cambodia" but misspoke], they just say, well, there's no evidence that he did.
O'REILLY: He didn't go in. The Washington Post investigated it.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, and what they said -- I'm relying on the same source that you are, Bill.
WILLIAMS: What they -- what they're saying is, his boat had the capacity to go in there, 50 miles from Cambodia at 7 a.m. in the morning, he could have done it, but --
O'REILLY: So does E.D's [O'Reilly's Radio Factor co-host and FOX News Channel's FOX & Friends co-host, E.D. Hill] yacht. E.D's yacht -- E.D.'s yacht has the capacity to go into Cambodia too. She can drive right up the Mekong River any time she wants.
WILLIAMS: Right. But we don't know that -- but we don't know that he didn't. But let's not argue that point.
O'REILLY: I do. He wasn't there, Juan. I'll tell you that. He wasn't there, I know.
WILLIAMS: All right. If you believe that. I don't -- I don't know whether he was there, but that's all I'm --
O'REILLY: No. I don't believe it. I know he wasn't there. I know he wasn't there. So take it to the bank. You know me. I don't mislead anybody. He wasn't there.
WILLIAMS: Well, how can you -- how can you know that, Bill? Were you there?
O'REILLY: I know that.