Ricks Sticks It To Fox News To Hype New Book?

Update 4: I’m sick of Ricks.

Update 3:  Ricks tells Huffington Post Fox apology claim is “horseshit.”

Update 2: Fox claims Ricks apologized. Ricks denies it. Politico.

Update 1: Ricks doesn’t think much of MSNBC: “MSNBC invited me, but I said, ‘You’re just like Fox, but not as good at it.’ They wrote back and said, ‘Thank you for your candor.’” Wash Post Tuesday.

Thomas Ricks ticks off Fox News for opining live that “Benghazi generally was hyped, by this network especially” and ”the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party.”  Fox kicks Ricks off the air.

Disingenuous Ricks had to know what the reax would be.  Maybe he was pulling an Ann Coulter and blurting something outrageous to generate media buzz about the new book he was pimping on Monday’s segment.

Anchor Jon Scott should have let Ricks ramble on instead of playing into his hands.

Ricks barred.

Thomas Ricks to Politico: “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,” Ricks told POLITICO in an e-mail. “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 he went off the air, Ricks said he “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.”

Brian Stelter NYT: Thomas E. Ricks, the veteran defense reporter and author, said he expected his Monday morning appearance on Fox News to last about three minutes. It ended, in fact, after 90 seconds — his last sentence was a description of the network as “a wing of the Republican Party.”

After the interview, a Fox News staffer told Mr. Ricks that he had been rude.

The strange and unusually short interview segment quickly gained the attention of media critics, because criticism of Fox News is rarely aired on Fox News. Mr. Ricks said in an e-mail message afterward that he did not think he was being rude. “I thought I was being honest,” he said. “They asked my opinion, and I gave it.”

The topic was the attack on the United States’s diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Before being thanked and sent on his way, Mr. Ricks said he thought the controversy around the attack was “hyped, by this network especially.”

Fox News has devoted far more airtime to the events in Benghazi, on Sept. 11, than other television news networks, with numerous suggestions that the Obama administration is engaged in a cover-up. Erik Wemple of The Washington Post and the anti-Fox group Media Matters, among others, have documented the ups and downs of Fox’s reporting on the subject.

“Right now, pressure mounting on the Obama administration over its response to the deadly attack on our consulate in Benghazi,” the Fox anchor Jon Scott said before tossing to Mr. Ricks, a former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal reporter whose latest book, “The Generals,” was published last month.

After Mr. Ricks said that he thought that “Benghazi generally was hyped, by this network especially,” Mr. Scott homed in on the word “hype,” asking, “When you have four people dead, including the first U.S. ambassador in more than 30 years, how do you call that hype?”

Mr. Ricks answered, “How many security contractors died in Iraq? Do you know?”

Mr. Scott said he did not know.

“Nobody does, because nobody cared,” Mr. Ricks said. “We know that several hundred died, but there was never an official count done of security contractors dead in Iraq. So when I see this focus on what was essentially a small firefight, I think, No. 1, I’ve covered a lot of firefights, it’s impossible to figure out what happens in them sometimes. And second, I think that the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party.”

That was the end of the segment.

“Alright, Tom Ricks, thank you very much for joining us today,” Mr. Scott said before his co-anchor tossed to a commercial break.

Mr. Ricks said in his e-mail that “I think the segment was about half as long as planned.” In the pre-interview with the producer in charge of the segment, Mr. Ricks expressed his point of view that the Benghazi controversy had been over-covered, “so they shouldn’t have been surprised when they pushed back on that, and I defended my position,” he said.

The producer, whom Mr. Ricks did not name, told him beforehand that he’d also have a chance to talk about the lack of combat readiness of some Army units, a subject he wrote a blog post about last Friday. “But they seemed to lose interest in that,” he said.

Mr. Ricks added, “One reason I spoke the way I did is that the hero of my new book is George Marshall, the Army chief of staff during World War II. He got his position by speaking truth to power, and I try to follow that example.”

A Fox News spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether the interview segment was cut short.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012 @ 8:28 AM

  • Jimbotalk

    It’s exactly that type of comment that’ll make this a topic for the Jim Bohannon Show annual Year In Review program Thursday night, 12/13, 1006PM EST featuring, among others, the Chickaboomer herself! (heard on radio stations coast to coast and streamed at http://www.jimbotalk.net )
    Not that I’d sink to crass commercialism and self-promotion on someone else’s media outlet, like some authors and defense experts I could name.

    • http://chickaboomer.com/ Marty Davis

       Not that you would, Jim! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.cobb.509 John Cobb

    Marty, I love your site, but, rather than posting some long winded story like above, can you just take what they write, and, shorten it into a few words of your on creation, it might make sense then.

    • http://chickaboomer.com/ Marty Davis

      I was advised to keep readers on my site rather than clicking on the link.  I will edit from now on. 

  • http://youhavetobethistalltogoonthisride.blogspot.com/ keyboard jockey

    What a boob, how many U.S. ambassadors died in Iraq Ricks? What an asshat. 

    Hyped? Does anyone remember when supposedly Valerie Plame was outed by the Bush administration? That was text book HYPE, and no one died in the Plame affair. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.cobb.509 John Cobb

    Don’t you love it, Ricks used a photo of a dead american, with the word “Fiasco” on the front of his book, and, complains of Fox exploiting Benghazi, a story that continues to develop.

    The only thing your qualified for Ricks, is Santa at O-mans X-mas bash.

  • http://youhavetobethistalltogoonthisride.blogspot.com/ keyboard jockey

     Ricks told POLITICO in an e-mail. “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.”
    Speaking truth to power?

    If Ricks was interested in Speaking truth to power, he would be scrutinizing the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi Attack on the anniversary of 9-11.  The republicans are not in Power neither is Fox News Corporation. The Democrats are in Power they have the presidency and the U.S. Senate leadership. Apparently he doesn’t know what speaking truth to power means. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.cobb.509 John Cobb

      Yeah Ricks, see how many books you sale to the MS/NBC crowd, unless it’s about growing hemp, of course.
      MSMs thinks standing up to fox is “truth to power”. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.cobb.509 John Cobb

    Oh, and btw Ricks, George Marshall was opposed to Partition of Israel and Palestine, back in 47.
    So, I guess you could say, had ol’ George had his way, the Arabs would have finished what the Nasi’s started.

    Truman, standing up to Marshall is one of his greatest moments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.cobb.509 John Cobb

    Man,  this guy burns me up, a small firefight, sure, I bet you’ve been in lots of them Ricks.

    • http://chickaboomer.com/ Marty Davis

      Fox would have taken the air out of gasbag Ricks had Scott just permitted him to drone on.  Yeah, he still would have gotten buzz for what he said, but Fox would have avoided being fingered by the MSM for unfair and biased.

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.cobb.509 John Cobb

      That is so true, why Scott did not do this was a mistake.

    • http://chickaboomer.com/ Marty Davis

      Maybe he panicked.  Maybe a producer was screaming in his ear to dump Ricks.

      As a former TV news anchor myself, I would’ve stayed with Ricks with some benign questions about his latest tome.  I wouldn’t have given him the satisfaction of knowing he pushed somebody’s buttons.