Last Saturday, firedoglake‘s Book Salon showcased military affairs author and Pultizer Prize-winning journalist, Thomas E. Ricks. The salon was hosted by Susan Glasser from Foreign Policy, where she is Editor-in-Chief, and Tom blogs. The author is promoting his new book, The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today. As is usual with guests at fdl‘s salon, Ricks discussed his most recent work with fdl commenters.
Right after the Thanksgiving weekend, the author was on FOX News, being interviewed by “newsman” Jon Scott on the subject FOX just can’t seem to get enough of these
days, uh – weeks. Benghazi.
Here’s how it went:
Here’s Politico‘s shot at a transcript, after Scott’s introduction:
“I think that Benghazi generally was hyped, by this network especially,” Ricks said. “And now that the campaign is over, I think [Sen. John McCain] is backing off a little bit. They’re not going to stop Susan Rice from being Secretary of State.”
Scott pushed back on the accusation that Fox News “hyped” the attack, asking, “When you have four people dead, including the first U.S. ambassador in more than 30 years, how do you call that hype?”
“How many security contractors died in Iraq? Do you know?” Ricks replied.
“I don’t,” Scott said.
“No, nobody does, because nobody cared,” 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 say this focus on what was essentially a small fire-fight, I think, number one, I’ve covered a lot of fire-fights, it is impossible to figure out what happens in them sometimes.”
Ricks then slammed Fox News again for their Benghazi coverage.
“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.
After that, Scott wrapped the interview. “Alright, Tom Ricks. Thanks very much for joining us today,” Scott said.
“You’re welcome,” Ricks replied.
There have been a fair number of stories on this already, not at fdl, as far as I can tell. The followup on the nutcase right has been all too predictable. The most questionable so far has been an article published Monday afternoon in The Hollywood Reporter, titled Fox News Exec VP: Guest Who Slammed Network Apologized – But Not Publicly. It had this lead-in update:
UPDATED: Author Tom Ricks accused the network of “hyped” Benghazi coverage; Fox News’ Michael Clemente says Ricks apologized but “doesn’t have the strength of character to do that publicly.” Ricks disputes.
Ricks must also be excited. After all, he’s busy selling books this month, and Christmas lists are being made all over the place.
I’d trust the Hollywood Reporter about as far as I’d trust FOX News. Their only claim to fame in the annals of journalism was a long, long time ago, and it was disgraceful – the September, 1947 “Billy’s List,” the first published version of the Hollywood blacklist of 1948.
Ricks isn’t impressed by the hit jobs on him, or by the level of reportage at HR:
Some guy apparently claiming to be a spokesman for Fox misinformed the Hollywood Reporter that I apologized afterwards. Unfortunately the Hollywood Reporter didn’t ask for specifics, or even ask me about it — and I am not hard to find. (Dude, that’s an automatic F in Journalism 101.)
And Ricks’ thoughts on being cut off the air at FOX:
I was surprised that they cut me off instead of doing the manly thing and riding to the sound of the guns. Whattabunchawimps. It reminded me of something that Col. Nathan R. Jessup once said. Or, as a defense reporter commented to me yesterday, “The story is not about Benghazi, it’s about how Fox can’t tolerate criticism.”
Ricks, in his blog post on this, published a few of the many e-mails he got from FOXbots.
image on flickr by Philip Weiss