While I’ve never been a fan of Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Ricks, whom I’ve always considered a deferential Pentagon Village groupie, he deserves mega props for sticking it to Fux News today.
Fux tries to sell itself as a serious news program during the midday hours when it isn’t featuring Rethug propagandists like O’Reilly, Hannity, Van Sustern, and the Fux Force Five. One of its supposed objective news anchors, Jon Scott, was gobsmacked today when Ricks spoke truth to power and called out Fux for being the propaganda arm of the GOP. (Actually, I think it’s the other way around, but we’ll let that go for now.)
HuffPo quotes Ricks:
“I think Benghazi was generally hyped by this network especially,” Ricks said. He added that he thought McCain seemed to be “backing off” from criticizing Rice since “the campaign [was] over.”
“When you have four people dead for the first time in more than 30 years, how do you call that hype?” Scott said, pushing back against Rice’s [sic] characterization of the network’s coverage.
Ricks compared the situation to security contractors who were killed in Iraq. He described the attack in Benghazi as a “small fire-fight” and added, “I think the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox is operating as the wing of the Republican Party.“
Obviously, Scott’s talking points didn’t anticipate Ricks’ bald faced truth, and he terminated the interview after only 90 seconds.
UPDATE: 11/28/12 Ricks denies Fux News’ claim that he later apologized for his remarks. Huffpo reports:
On Tuesday, Ricks and Fox News were still feuding. Fox News’ executive VP of news editorial Michael Clemente told the Hollywood Reporter that Ricks “apologized in our offices afterward but doesn’t have the strength of character to do that publicly.”
Ricks denied an apology ever took place. In an email to the Hollywood Reporter, Ricks wrote, “Please ask Mr. Clemente what the words of my supposed apology were. I’d be interested to know. Frankly, I don’t remember any such apology.”
UPDATE: 11:30 a.m. — TVNewser spoke with Clemente, who told the site that he would “refresh [Ricks’] memory” on the apology. After the segment, Clemente said that Ricks told Fox News staffers, “Sorry … I’m tired from a non-stop book tour.” Clemente added, “Perhaps now he can finally get some rest.”
UPDATE: 6:20 p.m. — Ricks emailed Clemente on Tuesday afternoon to clarify that he did not apologize after his interview with Fox News. See a copy of his email below:
To clarify my comments for you: I did not apologize.
As it happened, I ran into Bret Baier as I emerged from the interview. We know each other from working at the Pentagon. He asked if I was serious in saying that Fox had hyped Bengahzi, and I said I was. We discussed that. It was cordial exchange. (I wouldn’t mention this private conversation except that you apparently are quoting my hallway conversations as part of your attack.)
Later, as I was leaving, the booker or producer (I am not sure what her title was) said she thought I had been rude. I said I might have been a bit snappish because I am tired of book tour. This was in no way an apology but rather an explanation of why I jumped a bit when the anchor began the segment with the assertion that pressure on the White House was building—which it most clearly was not.
Note to Fux News: By all means, keep ignoring the First Rule of Holes.