Well, well, well. After Pulitzer-Prize winning author Tom Ricks gave Fox News an earful on the air about its partisan coverage of Benghazi - and had his interview quickly terminated - a Fox exec told The Hollywood Reporter that Ricks apologized to them. But Ricks says otherwise. It's OK for Fox to accuse other networks of all kinds of journalistic malpractice, it seems, but when the shoe's on the other foot, their widdle feewings can't take it.
Apparently, "fair and balanced" Fox News was more than a little miffed that Ricks had the audacity to characterize their Benghazi coverage as BS that "operat(ed) as a wing of the Republican Party."
According to The Hollywood Reporter,
Michael Clemente, executive vp, news editorial at FNC, tellsThe 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'?").
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“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."
Now that's rich! In the first place, Ricks did not dodge anchor Jon Scott's question, as the video makes plain. I'm embedding it at the end of this video so you can see for yourself. Secondly, considering that Scott thanked Ricks for the interview and pretended time was up - rather than admitting Fox didn't like what Ricks was saying - I'd argue that it's Fox News that didn't have the strength of character - to kick him off the show honestly. Given Fox's relentless attacks on the rest of the media for its "liberal bias," and boasts about its fairness and balance, you'd think they'd be able to stand up and defend themselves against one reporter.
But wait, there's more. Apparently, Ricks emailed the Reporter and wrote, "Please ask Mr. Clemente what the words of my supposed apology were. I'd be interested to know. Frankly, I don't remember any such apology." The Huffington Post reports,
TVNewser spoke with Clemente, who told the site that he would "refresh [Ricks'] memory" on the apology. After the segment, Clemente said that Ricks told Fox News staffers, "Sorry…I’m tired from a non-stop book tour." Clemente added, "Perhaps now he can finally get some rest.”
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I don't know about you but to me, "Sorry, I'm tired from a non-stop book tour" does not sound the same as "I'm sorry about what I said about your coverage."
More importantly, I can't help but notice that Clemente seems never to have said a word defending his network's Benghazi coverage.
By the way, is Ricks not the perfect choice as a guest for an upcoming Daily Show?
Regardless, here's hoping Mr. Ricks has started a new trend of intrepid journalists confronting Fox for what it is - a wing of the Republican Party operating under cover of a news organization.
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