Maybe I am getting cranky as I go into my third week of book tour. I was on Fox News yesterday morning and said (as I had indicated beforehand that I would) that the whole Benghazi story has been hyped. The anchor pushed back, so I defended my position. My view -- that Fox is openly supportive of the Republican Party, and that the Benghazi incident was hyped in part because it occurred near the end of the presidential campaign -- induced heart flutters in some quarters.
I was surprised that they cut me off instead of doing the manly thing and riding to the sound of the guns. Whattabunchawimps. It reminded me of something that Col. Nathan R. Jessup once said. Or, as a defense reporter commented to me yesterday, "The story is not about Benghazi, it's about how Fox can't tolerate criticism."
Some guy apparently claiming to be a spokesman for Fox misinformed the Hollywood Reporter that I apologized afterwards. Unfortunately the Hollywood Reporter didn't ask for specifics, or even ask me about it -- and I am not hard to find. (Dude, that's an automatic F in Journalism 101.)
Finally: Okay, no network is responsible for the hateful comments made by its viewers. But for what it is worth, here is a sampling of e-mails I got from supporters of Fox. I was surprised at how few wished to engage on the facts and instead just spewed nasty thoughts.
This was from Donna: "What a sleazel Tom Ricks is spreading is Obamaganda! Guess he thinks his opinions, etc. are so superior to half the country that he will say and do anything."
From Thomas: "You just showed what a liberal ass looks like with his pants down. What an idiot!"
Jim wrote, "I saw your Fox News interview on the HuffPost portion on my AOL page. I thought your 'performance' was really arrogant. Smug assholes like you is why I don't watch the news anymore. You guys have divided up into either Obama bashers or Obama ass kissers. As for what happened in Bhengazi [sic] it is obvious the Fox News reporter you smartassed to does not know what happened there. You know what though? You don't know what happened either. I think it deserves a little scrutiny instead of a 'happens all the time' attitude that you offered in your bullshit appearance on Fox."
From LH: "Shove off commie."
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.