During the interview, which lasted only a minute and 45 seconds, Ricks responded to a loaded question with a remark that surprised the anchor:
JON SCOTT (HOST): 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.
After Ricks called Fox the “operating wing” of the GOP, Scott ended the interview. Watch it:
Ricks’ assessment of Fox’s role in what they themselves dubbed “Benghazi-gate” is accurate. Since the Sept. 11 attack that killed four U.S. citizens, Fox has pushed a constant stream of conspiracy theories and easily countered “facts” claiming that the Obama administration lied to the public in their response. Even Fox’s own personalities have had trouble accepting the push at times, but Ricks’ blunt statements caught the network off-guard.
The interview apparently didn’t sit well with Fox: a “news staffer” told Ricks that he was rude while he was on air. Ricks’ segment, according to an interview he gave with the New York Times, was about “half as long as planned.”
“I had told the producer before I went on that I thought the Benghazi story had been hyped. So it should have been no surprise when I said it and the anchor pushed back that I defended my view,” Ricks told Politico. Ricks also told the New York Times that he was going to discuss the “lack of combat readiness of some Army units” but he never got the opportunity,. “They seemed to lose interest in that,” he said.
Politico reports that despite a claim by Fox that Ricks has apologized in private for slamming the network, Ricks says no such thing has happened:
“Please ask [Fox News Vice President Michael] Clemente what the words of my supposed apology were. I’d be interested to know,” he wrote in an e-mail to [The Hollywood Reporter]. “Frankly, I don’t remember any such apology.”