While being interviewed on Fox News, Thomas E. Ricks says the network “hyped” the attacks for political gain and calls Fox a “wing of the Republican Party.” The host then abruptly ends interview.
JON SCOTT (co-host): Pressure mounting on the Obama administration over its response to the deadly attack on our consulate in Benghazi, as [Fox News correspondent] Catherine Herridge reported just minutes ago. Several top GOP lawmakers are backing off their criticism of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, instead focusing on the White House. Two senators even expressing concerns about a possible White House cover-up. Let’s talk about it with Tom Ricks. He is author of The Generals. He has spent decades covering our military. He joins us now.
Senator John McCain said in the past he would block any attempt to nominate Susan Rice to become U.N. — I’m sorry, secretary of state. She’s currently the U.N. ambassador. He seems to be backing away from that. What do you make of it?
RICKS: 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. 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.