Recently an interview that was cut short by Fox News after an invited guest criticized that networks’ followup of September’s Benghazi incident has made news of its own.
Pulitzer Prize winning author Tom Ricks was invited to appear on Fox News to promote his new book, “The Generals,” and discuss the political aftermath of the Benghazi incident. Once he was on the air, however, Ricks called the network a “wing of the Republican Party,” and interviewer Jon Scott abruptly cut short the interview.
The next day, according to The Huffington Post, “Fox News’ executive VP of news editorial Michael Clemente told The Hollywood Reporter that Ricks ‘apologized in our offices afterward but doesn’t have the strength of character to do that publicly.'”
And this just gets better:
Ricks denied an apology ever took place. In an email to the Hollywood Reporter, Ricks 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.”
UPDATE: 11:30 a.m. — 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.”
UPDATE: 6:20 p.m. — Ricks emailed Clemente on Tuesday afternoon to clarify that he did not apologize after his interview with Fox News. See a copy of his email below:
To clarify my comments for you: I did not apologize.
As it happened, I ran into Bret Baier as I emerged from the interview. We know each other from working at the Pentagon. He asked if I was serious in saying that Fox had hyped Bengahzi, and I said I was. We discussed that. It was cordial exchange. (I wouldn’t mention this private conversation except that you apparently are quoting my hallway conversations as part of your attack.)
Later, as I was leaving, the booker or producer (I am not sure what her title was) said she thought I had been rude. I said I might have been a bit snappish because I am tired of [the] book tour. This was in no way an apology but rather an explanation of why I jumped a bit when the anchor began the segment with the assertion that pressure on the White House was building—which it most clearly was not.
Tom Ricks should receive great praise–first, by standing up for what he believed in during the on-air interview…and then, for responding to the attempts by Fox News to casually dismiss the incident, to try and transfer blame from themselves.
The interview that started all this controversy can be seen here.