Fox News abruptly ended an interview with Tom Ricks after the veteran reporter slammed the network for its coverage of the Benghazi terror attacks. Ricks said Fox was “operating as a wing of the Republican Party.”
Michael Clemente, Fox News' executive vice president of news editorial, said the cable-news network did not intend to show the grisly footage of a man committing suicide to its audience.
Ricks, who wrote “Fiasco,” which was critical of the second Iraq war, was interviewed by Fox News on Monday. He was asked what he thought of U.S. Sen. John McCain backing away from saying he would block the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, from being nominated for Secretary of State.
Fox News ended the interview with Ricks when he became critical of the news outlet, and the segment has gone viral online, with the clip garnering more than 41,000 views on YouTube. You can also view the video above.
Rice has been scrutinized by conservatives over her handling of the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stephens. Rice has been accused of stating talking points on the Sunday morning talk shows that immediately followed the attack that indicated it was spurred by spontaneous protests against the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims.” Intelligence later showed that the movie was not the cause of the attack, and that it was not spontaneous, and some Republicans claim Rice had been deliberately misinforming the American people.
Ricks, 57, who also authored the newly released “The Generals: American Military Command From World War II to Today,” said Fox News participated in hyping the controversy.
“I think that Benghazi generally was hyped, by this network officially,” Ricks told Fox News anchor Jon Scott. “And now that the election is over, I think [McCain is] backing off of it. They’re not going to stop Susan Rice from being Secretary of State.
The Fox News anchors challenged Ricks’ assertion that the Benghazi attack was overhyped.
“How many security contractors died in Iraq. Do you know?” Ricks countered, and the anchor said he didn’t. “No, nobody knows, because nobody cared.”
“So when I see this focus on what was essentially a small firefight … I’ve covered a lot of firefights. It’s impossible to figure out what happens in them sometimes,” Ricks continued.
The former Wall Street Journal and Washington Post reporter then ripped into Fox News.
“I think that the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political probably because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party.”
Scott then quickly thanked Ricks for appearing on the network and quickly turned the segment over to a co-anchor.
Fox News executive Michael Clemente told the Associated Press that he believed Ricks used the segment as a promotional tool for his new book.
"When Mr. Ricks ignored the anchor's question, it became clear that his goal was to bring attention to himself and his book," Clemente told the Associated Press.