Bill O'Reilly responded to the claim from Media Matters that he fabricated witnessing nuns being murdered in El Salvador when he was a foreign correspondent there in 1981. The Fox News anchor said he meant all along that he saw images of the murdered nuns, but did not witness the act. “While in El Salvador, reporters were shown horrendous images of violence that were never broadcast, including depictions of nuns who were murdered," O'Reilly said on his Fox News program last night. "That’s what I am referring to when I say ‘I saw nuns get shot in the back of the head.’ No one could possibly take that segment as reporting on El Salvador.”
Media Matters tracked O'Reilly's previous claims about what he witnessed in El Salvador. “I was in El Salvador, and I saw nuns get shot in the back of the head,” he said on his Fox News show. He repeated the anecdote on other occasions. But after four U.S. church workers in El Salvador were killed on December 2, 1980, and another was killed six weeks later, “no priests or nuns were killed in El Salvador for more than eight years,” Dr. Anna Lisa Peterson, a professor of religion at the University of Florida, told Media Matters. O’Reilly acknowledged arriving in El Salvador “right after” the killing of the nuns when he spoke on WVVH-TV's American Dreams Show on September 26, 2009.