Howard Kurtz Can't Admit It: Tom Ricks Was Picking a Fight With Fox News On Their Air

At the Daily Download, former Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz interviewed former Washington Post reporter Tom Ricks about his shortened interview with Fox News after he said “I think that the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party.” Claimed Ricks: “I was not picking a fight with Fox. I was answering their questions.”

The blog Inside Cable News says baloney: "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."

But Kurtz snapped about Fox, "Some of those who love to dish it out, it seems, aren’t very big on taking it." Earth to Howard: that's cute, coming from a CNN host who hasn't booked an MRC guest on "Reliable Sources" in this century. But for his buddy Tom Ricks, "He appeared on Reliable Sources on Sunday and I welcomed his criticism of the media."

That's like an old meeting for coffee in the Post cafeteria.

On CNN, Ricks said the adultery of CIA director David Petraeus should have never been in the news: "I'm embarrassed for the profession. I really am. I'm worried for the country that we don't talk about our wars until there is some sort of titillating scandal."

Kurtz avoided what should be obvious about Tom Ricks: who is he to accuse someone else of hyping foreign-policy scandal? This is a man whose book on the Iraq war was titled "Fiasco" and who compared George W. Bush to King George III of England. But once Obama was elected, he was for "giving war a chance." Brent Bozell exposed the robotic switch of liberal reporters like Ricks from staunch opponents of Mideast war to intervention enthusiasts:

Exhibit A is former Washington Post defense reporter Thomas Ricks. Five years ago, he wrote an Iraq book with the title “Fiasco.” That tome was touted as “a searing judgment on the strategic blindness” of Bush’s war. In his book, Ricks even trashed Democrats. They were not doves but "lambs" for their failure to oversee the excesses of the executive branch.

So who is this lobotomized Tom Ricks who showed up on “Meet the Press” on March 27? This man put on rose-colored glasses and magically transformed himself into Mr. Best-Case Scenario.

NBC’s David Gregory asked: If Gaddafi stays, can we really say “Mission accomplished”? Ricks didn’t hesitate. “Yes. I think what they'll say is we gave it a chance. All Obama is saying is give war a chance,” Ricks proclaimed. “Not our war. All we did was kick the door down, let the Brits and the French and the others do it. And I think his notion is we're going to be out of there long before this is resolved. That's the hope. That's the best-case scenario.”

As one of Obama’s media “lambs,” Ricks also insisted that if there are Islamic extremists among the Libyan rebels, that’s okay, since they seem to like us right now. “I don't think that all Islamic extremists are necessarily our enemy.  What we're at war with is violent Islamic extremists who want to attack the United States.  I think what you're seeing now is something very different, which is some of those Islamic extremists are cheering the United States.”

Now that Obama's leading from behind in Libya led to Benghazi, it's not a "Fiasco" yet? Ricks has no business claiming he's objective while Fox and MSNBC are both partisan networks.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis