Fox News Channel mainstay Bill O’Reilly waded into the timely issue of fake news after a guest appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor” turned out to be something other than what he was billed as.
The Washington Post reports that Nils Bildt was identified by producers as a Swedish defense and national security adviser. However, almost immediately after his appearance, “questions arose about his credentials, with Swedish officials and national security experts pointing out that Bildt did not work with the Swedish government and was not known in the country’s professional circles,” the paper reports.
On O’Reilly’s show last Thursday, “Bildt argued that Muslim immigrants in Sweden had driven up crime and created social problems,” the report notes.
“O’Reilly sought to clear the air during his show Monday night. In a segment titled ‘owning up to an error,’ he said criticism from the Swedish government and ‘left-wing people’ over Bildt’s qualifications was valid,” The Post reports.
The report quotes O’Reilly saying: “Mr. Bildt does consulting work on terrorism, that is true, but we should have clarified that he had no direct role with the Swedish government. The information we gave you in the segment was accurate, but in hindsight a more relevant guest should have been used on the anti-immigrant side.”
Bildt offered his own account.
“Earlier Monday, Bildt accused Fox News of making up his fake title, which was displayed in the caption during his appearance on the network,” The Post reports. “He said he made clear that he was an ‘independent adviser.’”
Bildt told The New York Times: “I have never claimed to be a representative of, nor for, the Swedish Government — or any institution thereof. I always stated that I was an independent adviser. Fox News was responsible for the title used — I think it was an unfortunate choice of words, but it is something they will need to answer for.”