I had a ringside seat for this TV moment today when Fox News host Bill O'Reilly came out swinging on "Media Buzz" against Eric Engberg and a Facebook post the former CBS newsman wrote Saturday about O'Reilly's performance as a correspondent in Argentina as the Falklands War ended.
I was waiting to go on right after O'Reilly with my reaction to what the Fox News host said about Engberg and the controversy, which started with a "Mother Jones" story questioning O'Reilly's claims about his work as a war correspondent. But O'Reilly stayed on the phone for the segment in which I was scheduled as well, and it was pure O'Reilly, with him calling Engberg a "coward" and holding the floor.
These are serious charges flying back and forth - charges that can tarnish and maybe ruin reputations. O'Reilly shared assessments and words about performances of his former colleagues in Argentina that I have only heard network news reporters say among themselves - almost never in public.
This is a culture war battle at its most raw-boned, bruising and bloody. Check out the video of both segments, the one with O'Reilly and host Howard Kurtz and the shorter one that followed with the three us.
Engberg was on CNN's "Reliable Sources" today, along with several other former CBS staffers who dispute O'Reilly's claims. I will post that video as soon as it's available in a format that works at Z on TV.