November 16, 2011

O’Reilly book banned from National Park Service bookstore due to “factual errors”


Saying he was the victim of a “concerted effort” by “nitpickers” and “enemies” who “are full of rage at our success,” Bill O’Reilly has defended his new book Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever after it was banned from sale — due to “lack of documentation and the factual errors within the publication” — by the bookstore at Ford’s Theater in Washington … the place where Abraham Lincoln was, you know, assassinated.

According to a report in Politico by Mackenzie Weinger, Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site deputy Superintendent Rae Emerson “slammed” the book in an analytical review that explains everything to be sold at any store operated by the National Park Service must be evaluated “for historical accuracy, quality, and relevance to park themes. Strict standards are maintained to ensure we offer the finest quality products that will enhance visitors’ experiences.” Emerson goes on to list numerous factual errors that “start in the prologue and are found in other places in the book,” notes Weinger.

Among the alleged errors: O’Reilly depicts Lincoln holding meetings in the Oval Office, whereas the Oval Office wasn’t built until 1909, during the Taft administration. Emerson also notes some usage errors by O’Reilly, such as saying someone “furled” their brow, instead of “furrowed.”

O’Reilly, who co-wrote the book with Martin Dugar, “shot back at Emerson’s claims,” reports Weinger, “saying there are just four errors in his 325-page work — and two of those are typos.”

A follow-up report in the Washington Post noted that O’Reilly had claimed afterward on his Fox News show that there were actually “four minor misstatements” and in addition “two typeset errors.”

Pat Eisemann, a  spokesperson for O’Reilly’s publisher, Henry Holt, said the company had corrected the errors in reprints and that “We continue to fully support the work of the authors.”

Rae Emerson, meanwhile, has so far refused O’Reilly’s goading that she debate him on his program, apparently feeling more secure in letting her findings speak for themselves.

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.