Fox News Exec VP: Guest Who Slammed Network Apologized - But Not Publicly
UPDATED: Author Tom Ricks accused the network of "hyped" Benghazi coverage; Fox News' Michael Clemente says Ricks apologized but "doesn’t have the strength of character to do that publicly." Ricks disputes.
Fox News Channel is hitting back against a guest whose interview was ended after he accused the network of acting "as a wing of the Republican Party" in covering Benghazi.
Tom Ricks, a former Washington Post reporter and author of best-selling books Fiasco and The Generals, briefly spoke with FNC’s Jon Scott about the death of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. In a brief interview, Ricks first said FNC "hyped" the embassy attack and said a bit later that "Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party" before Scott ended the interview.
Michael Clemente, executive vp, news editorial at FNC, tells The Hollywood Reporter that Ricks dodged Scott's question ("When you have four people dead, including the first U.N. ambassador in more than 30 years, how do you call that ‘hype'?").
“When Mr. Ricks ignored the anchor’s question, it became clear that his goal was to bring attention to himself -- and his book," Clemente said in an e-mail to THR. "He apologized in our offices afterward but doesn’t have the strength of character to do that publicly."
Several online outlets, meanwhile, have posted the testy interview, and Ricks told Politico he “saw some surprised faces in the hallway” after his interview with Scott. “One staff person said she thought I had been rude. My feeling was that they asked my opinion and I gave it.”
In an email to THR, Ricks also disputes FNC's claim of a private apology.
"Please ask Mr. Clemente what the words of my supposed apology were. I'd be interested to know," he said. "Frankly, I don't remember any such apology."
In a statement to THR, Clemente says: "I'm surprised by the General’s utter dishonesty. I'll refresh his memory – what he said following the segment was, 'Sorry… I’m tired from a non-stop book tour.' Perhaps now he can finally get some rest."