What happens on Fox “News” if you challenge one of their most-cherished narratives?
If you’re Tom Ricks, author, Pulitzer Prize winner and former military affairs reporter for The Washington Post, the interview ends abruptly and you’re sent quickly packing, probably ensuring that you will never see Fox air again.
Nicely done, Mr. Ricks. (Transcript below).
It got me to thinking, though. Back in the day, David Allan Coe had a country hit titled “You Never Even Called Me by My Name,” which he claimed was damn near the perfect country song. All it lacked was a mention of “momma, or trains, or trucks, or prison or gettin’ drunk.” So Steve Goodman, who had co-written the song with John Prine, sat down to write Coe a new closing verse. It went like this:
“Well, I was drunk the day my momma got out of prison,
And I went to pick her up in the rain.
But before I could get to the station in the pick-up truck,
She got runned over by a damned old train.”
So … what would be the perfect Fox “News” non-story? If you were a Fox “News” producer, and you wanted to dream up the segment that would punch every button for your audience, what would it be?
The Benghazi attacks were carried out by the New Black Panthers to recover evidence that Obama had really been born in Kenya?
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.
– Jay Bookman