Tom Ricks vs. Fox News, Take 2

What is the deal with this Tom Ricks story? Fox News sure is touchy these days. A Fox executive told the Hollywood Reporter that after his abruptly terminated interview yesterday, Ricks apologized for telling the truth about the network on the air.

Tom Ricks, a former Washington Post reporter and author of best-selling books Fiasco and The Generals, briefly spoke with FNC’s Jon Scott about the death of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. In a brief interview, Ricks first said FNC “hyped” the embassy attack and said a bit later that “Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party” before Scott ended the interview.

Michael Clemente, executive vp, news editorial at FNC, tells The Hollywood Reporter that Ricks dodged Scott’s question (“When you have four people dead, including the first U.N. ambassador in more than 30 years, how do you call that ‘hype’?”).
“When Mr. Ricks ignored the anchor’s question, it became clear that his goal was to bring attention to himself — and his book,” Clemente said in an e-mail to THR. “He apologized in our offices afterward but doesn’t have the strength of character to do that publicly.”

But Ricks says the apology story is a big ol’ lie. From Politico:

Ricks told POLITICO that Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice president of news, made the claim he apologized privately because “when the facts aren’t on their side, they attack the person.”

“Clemente is making it up, and it is sloppy of Hollywood Reporter to not ask him for specifics — what exactly am I alleged to have said? — and also to seek a response from me,” Ricks wrote in an e-mail. “Why are they doing this? Because their MO is that when the facts aren’t on their side, they attack the person.”

Ricks told the Washington Post that

I had told the producer before I went on that I thought the Benghazi story had been hyped. So it should have been no surprise when I said it and the anchor pushed back that I defended my view.

I also have been thinking a lot about George Marshall, the Army chief of staff during World War II, and one of the heroes of my new book. He got his job by speaking truth to power, and I have been thinking that we all could benefit by following his example as much as we can.

After I went off the air I saw some surprised faces in the hallway. One staff person said she thought I had been rude. My feeling was that they asked my opinion and I gave it.

Ricks also told the Hollywood Reporter in an e-mail:

“Please ask Mr. Clemente what the words of my supposed apology were. I’d be interested to know,” he said. “Frankly, I don’t remember any such apology.”

Clemente responded, according to TPM:

“I’m surprised by the General’s utter dishonesty,” Clemente said. “I’ll refresh his memory – what he said following the segment was, ‘Sorry… I’m tired from a non-stop book tour.’ Perhaps now he can finally get some rest.”

Ricks is not a general, but he did write a book called The Generals.

You be the judge. I report, you decide. (This is an open thread.)


22 Comments on “Tom Ricks vs. Fox News, Take 2”

  1. dakinikat says:

    The Fox News people are insane. That goes for what the WSJ these days too. I can’t believe what that paper has become.

  2. RalphB says:

    Isn’t it amazing that our media culture has degraded to the point where Tom Ricks can show brutal honesty and integrity on the air and it becomes a large story? That’s really damning of the whole media establishment, especially Fox Propaganda Network.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Naked protesters take over John Boehner’s office. Photos at the link.

  4. RalphB says:

    McCain eyepopper quote at the link. He may be stupider than the Snow Grifter.

    TPM: Stupidest Thing McCain Ever Said?

    Could John McCain really be this dumb. On an interview on his Benghazi/Susan Rice double down he just questioned how it was we had so much information so quickly about the raid on the bin Laden compound than we had about the attack in Benghazi.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Greg Sargent heard some possible good news about the fiscal curb negotiations.

    I’m told that representatives of major unions and progressive groups met privately this morning with senior Obama administration officials at the White House — and were pleased with what they heard.

    Things can always change at a moment’s notice. But attendees at this meeting came away convinced — for now — that the White House firmly believes it has the leverage in the fiscal cliff talks, and has no intention of budging on the demand for higher tax rates from the rich or on other core priorities.

    Indeed, one person at the meeting — which included people from the AFLCIO, AFSCME, SEIU, MoveOn and others — came away convinced that the White House would ultimately prove willing to go over the fiscal cliff if necessary, rather than give ground on core demands, though this is not by any means a desired option and isn’t being discussed as a strategic possibility.

    The attendee tells me the White House is cool to the idea of going over the cliff, but added: “Would they if it’s between that and compromising their core principles? I was left with the impression that they would.”

    “They remain in the same place: They expect taxes to go up on the wealthy and to protect Medicare and Medicaid benefits,” the attendee added. “They feel confident that they don’t have to compromise.”

    • ecocatwoman says:

      That’s good to know, however, does anyone else feel that releasing this info backs the WH into a corner? It just seems to me that it’s going to make the opposition dig their heels in further. But, hey, I never was much of a chess player.

  6. dakinikat says:

    H Reality Check ‏@rhrealitycheck

    BREAKING: #Ohio #Heartbeat Bill Dead (Again) for 2012. #OH #OHgov #OHsen #senate #abortion #prochoice

    • NW Luna says:

      Goddess bless. Otherwise — fetus w/heartbeat entitled to life, but woman w/heartbeat not entitled to life-saving treatment.

  7. RalphB says:

    Senators GrumpyPants, Huckleberry Closetcase, and Little Bo Peep are still “troubled” by Susan Rice.

    Charles Pierce: What More Does John McCain Want From Susan Rice?

    Well, the one thing you have to give the spotlight-humpers currently trying to make a meal out of the career of Susan Rice is they’re nothing if not predictable.
    McCain and Graham — and the hapless Ayotte, who is clearly, and pathetically, looking past Rice all the way to the 2016 Iowa caucuses — have nothing. They want to beat up on Rice simply because they can’t beat up on the president, although McCain made a run at that over the weekend. And they came out of the meeting and ran their mouths about what went on because they knew Rice wasn’t going to go into details of that meeting in public. They are a pair of cowards, with a feckless rookie in train, and they are playing dangerous games with the country’s security. They hereafter should be ignored and, if Graham goes through with his threat of putting a hold on Rice’s nomination, Harry Reid should move his desk out onto Constitution Avenue, and no Democrat should cooperate with this clown ever again.

    • Fannie says:

      They can be troubled all they want and vow to block any successor to HRC…Come Jan. Harry Reid can change the rules of the number of majority needed to move on with this case.