A live Fox News interview with a military affairs reporter was abruptly cut short when he began attacking the network’s coverage of the U.S. consulate attack in Libya, accusing Fox of being a “wing” of the GOP.
In a Monday segment on the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Fox News anchor Jon Scott asked Tom Ricks for his reaction to the apparent shift in criticism from U.S. Sen. John McCain and other Republicansaway from U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and her initial comments on the attack.
“I think that Benghazi generally was hyped by this network especially, and that now that the campaign is over I think he’s backing off a little bit," Ricks said. "They’re not going to stop Susan Rice from being secretary of state.”
Scott hit back, asking, “When you have four people dead, including the first U.S. ambassador in more than 30 years, how do you call that hype?”
Risks proceeded to downplay the Benghazi attack by describing it as a firefight and comparing the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three men in his security team to the deaths of American contractors who were killed in Iraq.
“I’ve covered a lot of firefights," Ricks added. "It’s impossible to figure out what happens in them sometimes. Second, I think the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party.”
Scott then thanked Ricks for his appearance and ended the interview after barely two minutes. According to the Washington Post, Ricks said he expected the interview to last five minutes.
Ricks, a former Pentagon correspondent for the Washington Post, told the paper in response to the Fox News interview, “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 . . . 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.”
Fox has not released a statement regarding the interview.
News about the interview spread fast online, particularly among liberal sites like The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast. Media Matters, a left-wing media monitoring company which is a consistent critic of Fox News, featured the interviewing adding in their commentary.
“Indeed, Fox has relentlessly hyped the Benghazi attack," Media Matter wrote, "and repeatedly pushed distortions of the events that happened before, during, and after the attack.”
Ricks was a vocal critic of the Iraq war, having published a book “Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 to 2005.”
He is currently a contributing editor to Foreign Policy magazine and a senior fellow at a national defense think tank, Center for a New American Security, which according to Newsbusters.org has ties to the Obama administration.
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