By Roger Stone
The recent questionable claims by Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly regarding his Falklands War coverage are not his most embellished accounts. O’Reilly made several exaggerations and false claims in “Killing Kennedy,” his spin on the assassination of our 35th President.
One of his lies, which in the past week has been disproved by CNN, Politico, Slate and many other news organizations regarded the mysterious George de Mohrenschildt. De Mohrenschildt, the only close friend in Dallas of alleged Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, was also connected to George HW Bush, the CIA, Texas oil and businessmen, and, incredibly, Jackie Kennedy.
“I feel responsible for the behavior of Lee Harvey Oswald… because I guided him,” de Mohrenschildt revealed shortly before his death. “I instructed him to set it up.”
In March 1977, As the House Select Committee on Assassination began its interviews of de Mohrenschildt, he was found dead, a gunshot through his cranium. In his book, O Reilly claimed that as a young reporter he was standing on the porch of the house where de Mohrenschildt was staying when he heard the shot. The claim has been disproved through a recorded phone conversation between O’Reilly and congressional investigator Gaeton Fonzi which revealed that the young journalist was clearly not even in the state when de Mohrenschildt died.
The lie about de Mohrenschildt’s death is only a fraction of the cloudy journalism in “Killing Kennedy.” In the book, O’Reilly describes de Mohrenschildt as man who “may” have CIA connections. In reality, de Mohrenschildt was so close to the Agency that he had direct, personal correspondence with HW Bush in the mid-seventies. Bush at the time was director of the Agency. In 1962, de Mohrenschildt had been directed to contact Oswald by CIA man J. Walton Moore.
While promoting the book, O’Reilly tripped over his own words, admitting that de Mohrenschildt did in fact have CIA connections. “We couldn’t find out the man George de Mohrenschildt with CIA contacts, what he was doing with Oswald,” O’Reilly admitted on “The View”. “Oswald as I said, loser, lowest rung. This guy [de Mohrenschildt] is an aristocratic Russian with CIA connections. Why was he around? We couldn’t really nail that down.”
O’Reilly plays loose with many more facts in “Killing Kennedy.”
In O’Reilly’s book, Oswald, as a former Marine Corps sharpshooter, “knows how to clean, maintain, load and aim the weapon.” In reality, Oswald was deemed a “rather poor shot” in his last rifle test before the assassination, and once irresponsibly dropped a loaded pistol inside a barracks, causing it to discharge. To reinforce Oswald as a professional marksman, O’Reilly recounted Oswald’s alleged trip to the Sports Drome Rifle Range a week prior to the assassination. Oswald was identified to the Warren Commission by Sterling Wood, a thirteen-year-old boy.
The Warren Commission testimony of Malcolm Howard Price, however, is absent from O’Reilly’s account. Price, a retiree, who sometimes helped out at the rifle range, saw the man who resembled Oswald show up on several occasions. The man whom price saw drove an old Ford; the real Oswald could not drive a car. Price also testified that he had seen the man resembling Oswald at the range following the assassination.
O’Reilly erroneously painted Oswald as frantic following the shots upon Kennedy in Dealey Plaza. “He races to get out of the depository,” wrote O’Reilly. This depiction is at odds with every eyewitness who saw Oswald on his way out of the Texas School Book Depository building. When building superintendent Roy Truly and Dallas Police Officer Marrion L. Baker first confront Oswald immediately after the assassination, Lee is not on his way out-he is in the second floor cafeteria drinking a soda. When Mrs. Robert Reid later confronts him on the second floor, Oswald is “moving at a very slow pace,” and not racing anywhere.
“Killing Kennedy” also paints over the very credible and well sourced connections between the Kennedys and organized crime as “rumors.” Most egregiously, O’ Reilly correctly assesses Vice President Lyndon Johnson as a ruthless figure who was likely to be dropped from the ’64 ticket, but fails to make the connections between Johnson, Texas Oil, the CIA, the Mob, and the Kennedy assassination.
In my book “The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ,” I show that Johnson had the motive, means, and opportunity to pull off the assassination of Kennedy and detail, point by point, how he in fact did.
“This is a fact-based book, so we don’t chase any conspiracy theories,” O’ Reilly said while promoting “Killing Kennedy.”
Mr. O’Reilly has a lot of explaining to do.