The Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple reports:
Longtime television news reporter Bob Sirkin released a statement Monday on the Web site of Henry Holt and Co., publisher of Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Kennedy. Sirkin responded to the JFK Facts story of January 2013 that the embattled Fox News host lied in his best-selling book Killing Kennedy about his investigative reporting exploits.
So two years after JFK Facts first published the story, O’Reilly has finally issued a proxy defense. Does Sirkin’s story add up?
Sirkin writes that he and O’Reilly had traveled to Florida on the night of March 28, 1977, and arrived at West Palm Beach early on the 29th. They were in pursuit of a story about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, one of the most searing — and confusing — events in American history.
“We proceeded to the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach,” says Sirkin. (The original is in all caps.) “And uh, that is where George de Mohrenschildt was being interviewed by Edward J. Epstein in an upstairs suite. So with our camera rolling, we knocked on Epstein’s door.”
In his piece for Newsweek, Epstein makes two salient points.
First, in Killing Kennedy, O’Reilly wrote (on page 300) that he heard the fatal gunshot that killed De Mohrenschildt, a man who collaborated routinely with the CIA, at the home of De Mohrenschildt’s daughter (emphasis added). In fact, de Mohrenschildt committed suicide at a swank ocean front estate owned by a friend.
A small mistake perhaps, and no big deal. But such an error doesn’t inspire confidence in O’Reilly’s skill as a reporter, which is the central issue as some complain that “The Left Wants Bill O’Reilly’s Head.”
Second, Epstein points out a bit of relevant crime scene evidence. The maid who was inside the mammoth palatial house did not hear the gunshot that O’Reilly supposedly heard outside.
[Editor’s note: I originally used the word “ventriloquist” in the headline, which suggested, wrongly, that Sirkin’s account was not his own. A faithful reader pointed out my mistake and changed the text accordingly. I regret the error.]