On Monday, Jon Scott of Fox News got the interview he didn’t expect from author and military expert Thomas Ricks.
It unfolded quickly on Scott’s "Happening Now" episode, because the interview was cut short when it became clear the answers weren’t conducive to supporting the Fox News platform on Benghazi blame and finger-pointing.
Ricks, a military expert and Pulitzer Prize winner who has written several books on the armed forces and is a member of the Center for a New American Security, was asked why Sen. John McCain seemed to be backing off his earlier statements on how Susan Rice handled the Sept. 11 attack that left four Americans dead.
Fox News transcript:
RICKS: I think that Benghazi generally was hyped by this network especially and that now that the campaign is over, he's backing off a little bit. They're not going to stop Susan Rice from being secretary of state.
SCOTT: When you have four people dead, including the first dead U.N. ambassador — U.S. ambassador in more than 30 years, how do you call that hype?
RICKS: How many security contractors died in Iraq, do you know?
SCOTT: I don’t.
RICKS: No. Nobody does, 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 see this focus on what was essentially a small firefight, I think, number one, I’ve covered a lot of firefights. It’s impossible to figure out what happens in them sometimes. And second, I think that the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of Republican Party.
SCOTT: All right. Tom Ricks, thanks very much for joining us today.
RICKS: You’re welcome.
And, just like that, the interview was over.
The producer was most likely shouting into Scott’s earpiece…”shut it down, get him off the air!”
Ricks has great credibility in his position. He brought a different perspective to the conversation that Fox News didn’t want people to hear. Ricks cannot be confused with a token or symbolic liberal, although the spin at Fox News has been known to go in whatever direction serves its largely conservative audience.
Fox News commentators have been involved in other high profile witch hunts, like the Shirley Sherrod debacle in 2010, where a brief video snippet was taken out of context by the late conservative Tea Party blogger, Andrew Breitbart, and sent to Fox News. The network immediately set upon the figurative stoning of Sherrod for “racism” against white farmers.
The Sherrod vilification was propagated largely by Bill O’Reilly and Dick Morris as they passed judgment and heaped huge piles of misleading rhetoric on their audience that resulted in an innocent woman being forced to resign her position at the U.S. Department of Agriculure.
Character assassination is a Fox News specialty, and it has been revealed numerous times how they edit videos in order to suit their version of any particular argument.
In 2009, Al Gore was crucified for making money from his environmental work after a brief interview of Gore was shown, but the Fox editors cut out the part that explained his profits went to charity.
Furthermore, Fox News has always been a friendly place for conservatives and politicians to appear and freely explain their positions or whitewash a main street media talking point without being challenged, such as Sarah Palin did with her Paul Revere gaffe or her Katie Couric “gotcha” question regarding her preference of reading material.
Fox News is known for controlling its message, so the chances of Ricks being invited back after referring to them as the operating “wing of the Republican Party” is unlikely, but judging by the slight smile on his face at the end of the interview, he won’t mind.
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