Defense expert Tom Ricks appeared on Fox News today and slammed the network for their coverage of the September 11 attack on Benghazi, confronting host Jon Scott during an interview that was abruptly stopped when Ricks spoke up about the “hyped” narrative.
Tom Ricks is a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, as well as a blogger at ForeignPolicy.com. Ricks is also a member of defense policy group Center for a New American Security, and was discussing the Benghazi attacks with Scott when the conversation became contentious.
Politico has a brief clip of the Tom Ricks interview with Jon Scott, below, but it’s unclear what occurred just before Ricks drops the mic and Scott wraps the tete-a-tete.
The Fox News Benghazi coverage slant becomes an issue in the conversation when Ricks makes a sharp turn and chastises Scott and his colleagues for “operating as a wing of the Republican Party” before he lays into the network for playing up the attack in an attempt to sling mud at the Obama administration’s handling of it.
“I think that Benghazi generally was hyped, by this network especially … 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.”
Taken off-guard, Jon Scott scrambles to regain control of the interview and narrative, countering Ricks:
“When you have four people dead, including the first U.S. ambassador in more than 30 years, how do you call that hype?”
But Ricks remains firm — he puts Scott on the spot by asking how many security contractors were killed in Iraq, an answer the Fox News talking head cannot supply.
When Scott admits he does not know, Ricks replies and points out that the specifics of a “firefight” may not be, at first, readily discernable:
“No, nobody [knows], because nobody cared … 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 said after the interview that the appearance was originally planned to be about three minutes long versus the 90 second clip that resulted, and he had been accused afterwards of being “rude” by a Fox News staffer. Ricks said in an email:
“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.”
Watch below as Tom Ricks rips Fox News in their own house on their Benghazi spin.