As NewsBusters previously documented, most of the mainstream media highlighted General Ricardo Sanchez’s criticism of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq War, but ignored his criticism of the media’s coverage. The one exception, of course, is Fox News.
Retired Colonel and Fox News Military Analyst David Hunt appeared on the October 17 edition of "Fox and Friends" to discuss Sanchez’s remarks. Although Hunt conceded Sanchez "is the wrong guy to be doing this" due to the Abu Ghraib scandal, he believes that "he’s right."
Gretchen Carlson wondered if, with the lack of coverage of Hunt’s media criticism, "it proved his point." Colonel Hunt responded in the affirmative and then blasted "The New York Times" for covering Abu Ghraib 57 times, but ignoring the news of a Congressional Medal of Honor winner.
The entire transcript is below.
GENERAL RICARDO SANCHEZ, USA RET: Over the course of this war, tactically insignificant events have become strategic defeats for our country because of the tremendous power and impact of the media, and by extension, you individually the journalist.
BRIAN KILMEADE: He was looking at us. Retired General Ricardo Sanchez was quick to criticize both the administration and the media over the Iraq War. So has the media's coverage of his speech proved his point, Gretchen?
GRETCHEN CARLSON: Fox News military analyst and author of "On the Hunt," Colonel David Hunt, is here to tell us what he thinks. Good morning to you Colonel.
COLONEL DAVID HUNT, USA RET: Hi guys. I'm on the couch again.
CARLSON: Yeah you are.
STEVE DOOCY: On the hunt, on the couch.
HUNT: On the hunt, thanks.
CARLSON: Did it prove his point that he talks about, he slams the media, blames them for certain things that are happening in Iraq, and then, basically nobody covers that part of the speech?
HUNT: Yeah, except for you guys, Fox. I mean, O'Reilly did it.
HUNT: Is that, is that- yeah. My, my opinion, Sanchez is the wrong guy to be doing this, but I think he's right. And the, and the media on both sides, in my opinion have deserved to get slapped around a bit on this. But it's clearly the people who ran the war are more culpable.
DOOCY: Well, the headline on Drudge a couple of days ago, when he said this, and it was in front of some military journalists, was that is was a nightmare over in Iraq. That was what Sanchez said in a portion of his speech. But then he went on to blast the people covering the war saying, "you're only doing this bad stuff, and you don't have the bigger picture."
HUNT: Yeah it was-
DOOCY: And so the media doesn't- "oh we don't want to examine our self forget about that. He just said 'nightmare' let's put that in big type."
HUNT: Yeah, I think the story was two fold. It was this guy who was commanding the place, and oh by the way, should be jail for, for what happened with Abu Ghraib. I mean, he was a three star general in charge and did not. He gets a pass. But at the time, at the time he was in command, it was chaotic, in complete chaos. And so he's got to take responsibility for that. He was the boss. But absolutely the press, for example the "Times" covered Abu Ghraib 57 times. I mean that's, that's outrageous coverage. We still don't have the Medal of Honor winner being covered by the biggest, one of the biggest papers in the world.
DOOCY: We have that an hour from now.
KILMEADE: The parents are here today.
HUNT: Well, this guy's unbelievable. I know that story. These are the bravest of the brave. This is the Congressional Medal of Honor, the first one, its got to be covered.
KILMEADE: Well, but, but Colonel, overall, Sanchez, you've always, one of the things you've always said is where are they coming from? What are they trying to do now? He can't be happy with the way his tenure's been tainted, the way they've stapled him to Abu Ghraib, and he never got the other star before he left. So is that bitterness speaking?
HUNT: Yeah, it's partly bitterness, but that again, but it's easy to shoot the messenger, because Sanchez is not that highly regarded, but what he said about the conduct of the war and the press, is accurate to the point of the issue, because no one understood, neither the administration or the press, the nature of the war, which was an insurgency, which was about four wars going on. And so they would report sometimes a battle on one street to make it chaotic when in fact a lot of great things were going on.
CARLSON: But quickly, why didn't he speak up when he had the chance? Because you got Senator McCain on our show yesterday saying he was in all of the strategy meetings he never spoke up.
HUNT: Yeah Lindsey Graham did the same thing too, because we don't produce generals in every service who will speak out. That's not how they're produced.
KILMEADE: They do it behind closed doors with politicians.
HUNT: No, not necessarily, not their bosses.