Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Tom Ricks was quickly booted off Fox News Monday when he accused the network of operating as “a wing of the Republican party.” Executive VP Michael Clemente claims Ricks apologized off-camera. Ricks says otherwise.
Fox originally scheduled to air a three-minute interview with the 57-year old defense analyst, but, the segment lasted only 90 seconds after Ricks burst out with media criticism.
“I think that Benghazi generally was hyped,” he yelled. “The emphasis . . . has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party.”
Suddenly the remaining 50 percent of the interview was shooed to the side as anchor Jon Scott closed out with a speedy “Thanks very much for joining us today.”
Ricks told Politico that he openly criticized the network before his segment began and that the remarks shouldn’t have surprised anyone.
“One staff person said she thought I had been rude,” he said. “My feeling was that they asked my opinion and I gave it.”
Michael Clemente, executive vice president at Fox News, claimed that Ricks apologized to producers off-air, though.
“It became clear that his goal was to bring attention to himself — and his book,” Clemente wrote in an email to The Hollywood Reporter. “He apologized in our offices afterward but doesn’t have the strength of character to do that publicly.”
Finally Ricks headed back to Politico for a refutation.
“Clemente is making it up,” he wrote to Mackenzie Weinger. “Why are they doing this? Because their MO is that when the facts aren’t on their side, they attack the person.”
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