Cuba Travel Services will offer seats on a Boeing 737 flown by Sun Country Airlines from JFK Airport to José Martí International Airport on Tuesdays.
Long off limits to Americans, Cuba is about to become a little more accessible to New York-area travelers, according to the New York Post.
Starting Tuesday, a tour operator will begin offering what it says are the first regularly scheduled direct charter flights from New York City to Havana since President Obama restored diplomatic relations with Cuba in December.
In his 2012 best-selling non-fiction book Killing Kennedy, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly writes on page 300 that he was about to interview a man named George de Mohrenschildt, a figure in the JFK assassination. As a “reporter knocked on the door of de Mohrenschildt’s daughter’s home, he heard the shotgun blast that marked the suicide of the Russian … that reporter’s name is Bill O’Reilly,” states Media Matters.
O’Reilly repeated the tale for the Killing Kennedy audiobook. In Kennedy’s Last Days, the adaptation for younger readers, O’Reilly wrote, “As I knocked on the door, I heard a shotgun blast. He had killed himself.”
The Fox News host also repeated the tale while promoting his book and movie special on Fox News.
However, numerous pieces of evidence contradict O’Reilly’s claim that he “heard the shotgun blast” that killed de Mohrenschildt.
In comments to Media Matters, two of O’Reilly’s former colleagues at station WFAA in Dallas said that O’Reilly’s version of events is not true. “Bill O’Reilly’s a phony, there’s no other way to put it,” said Tracy Rowlett, a former WFAA reporter and anchor who worked there with O’Reilly. “He was not up on the porch when he heard the gunshots, he was in Dallas. He wasn’t traveling at that time.”
Byron Harris, a reporter at WFAA for the past 40 years, said that O’Reilly had not traveled to Florida for the story and accused him of “stealing” his reporting on de Mohrenschildt’s suicide from a newspaper. He said O’Reilly “was in Dallas. He stole that article out of the newspaper. I guarantee Channel 8 didn’t send him to Florida to do that story because it was a newspaper story, it was broken by the Dallas Morning News.”
Both Harris and Rowlett said O’Reilly never mentioned having been present for the gunshot during his time at WFAA.
“I don’t remember O’Reilly claiming that he was there. That came later, that must have been a brain surge when he was writing the book,” said Rowlett.
Harris further pointed out that WFAA “would have reported it as some kind of exclusive — and there was no exclusive — if O’Reilly had been standing outside the door.”
O’Reilly’s claim of having been present when de Mohrenschildt shot himself was also missing from his 1992 Inside Edition report on documents relating to the Kennedy assassination.
During that report, O’Reilly said, “moments before he was to be interviewed by House investigators, de Mohrenschildt blew his brains out with a 20-gauge shotgun.”
(That statement comes at roughly the 2:37 mark in the video below.)
In comments to Media Matters, Reporter and University of California (Washington Center) visiting professor Jefferson Morley said O’Reilly’s claim of being present for the gunshot is “just not true” and speculated that it was “just part of the pattern, to embellish the story and make it a sexier story.” Morley said, “It is what these guys all do, they inject themselves into a dramatic situation,” said Media Matters.
Below is a video of CNN’s Brian Stelter interviewing Morley about O’Reilly’s report on de Mohrenschildt.
According to Media Matters, Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly claimed in his books and on Fox News that while he was reporting for a Dallas television station in 1977, he was directly outside the home at the moment that George de Mohrenschildt — an associate of Lee Harvey Oswald — shot himself in Florida. The police report filed at the time makes no mention of him.
Media Matters also reported that several former colleagues and journalists at the time have disputed O’Reilly’s story.
Adding to the mounting evidence against O’Reilly’s tale are tape recordings of a phone conversation between O’Reilly and a congressional reporter who was interviewing de Mohrenschildt before his death, states Media Matters.
The recording was recently released by CNN on Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter.
“On the tapes, O’Reilly can be heard asking the congressional reporter about the details of the suicide, and adding that he is not yet in Florida — a claim that is at odds with O’Reilly’s statements that he was near the home where de Mohrenschildt killed himself.” Secular Talk takes a look at it.