He said/He said…
The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz writes about the FNC/Tom Ricks flap…
Was Ricks being deliberately provocative? Perhaps he was, for controversy sells books. And maybe his criticism was overstated. But the fact remains that he was invited as a guest, was asked about the Libya attack, and responded in a way that made Fox’s relentless coverage of the controversy part of the story. And that was deemed unacceptable.
Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice president, told me that Ricks’s conduct “felt like a stunt…That was just bush league, especially for a veteran reporter.” Ricks wasn’t answering the anchor’s question, says Clemente, and Scott, feeling “offended,” decided that “I’m not going to give this guy any more airtime.”
What’s more, Clemente says, Ricks “apologized” to a Fox staffer on the way out.
Ricks denies this, saying he told the staffer—who accused him of being rude—that he “might have been a bit snappish” because he was tired from his book tour. “This was in no way an apology,” Ricks told me, “but rather an explanation of why I jumped a bit when the anchor began the segment with the assertion that pressure on the White House was building—which it most clearly was not.”
As for the interview itself, “I was not picking a fight with Fox. I was answering their questions.”
Bull. Ricks absolutely was picking a fight with FNC the same way that John Ziegler tried to pick a fight with Contessa Brewer and got booted off MSNBC. If you attack a network you are appearing on with that kind of rhetoric, you should expect to get yanked off the air. One could still make the point Ricks was trying to make without resorting to the language Ricks was using…language which left FNC with no choice but to drop him like a hot potato.
The only question I have is whether Ricks has a documented history of taking jabs at FNC. If he has, then FNC’s bookers share some of the blame for bringing him on knowing what could happen.