Pulitizer Prize-winning author and journalist Tom Ricks is denying a claim by a Fox News executive that he privately apologized for an interview on the channel in which he said that Fox News has been "operating as a wing of the Republican Party" in its coverage of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
In an email to The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Clemente, Fox News executive vice president, accused Ricks of dodging a question by Fox host Jon Scott on the Benghazi attack. "When Mr. Ricks ignored the anchor's question, it became clear that his goal was to bring attention to himself -- and his book. ... He apologized in our offices afterward but doesn't have the strength of character to do that publicly."
Ricks responded to Clemente's claim in an email to the Reporter: "Please ask Mr. Clemente what the words of my supposed apology were. I'd be interested to know. ... Frankly, I don't remember any such apology."
Ricks said in an interview with Media Matters' Joe Strupp that Fox staffers "seemed surprised" after the interview. Ricks further said that he told Fox before the interview that he thought the Benghazi story had been "hyped," and that he was not given any restrictions by Fox prior to going on the air.
Ricks expected the interview to go on for "several more minutes," he told Media Matters. It lasted less than two minutes, abruptly ending after he said that Fox was "operating as a wing of the Republican Party."
Ricks' criticism echoes that of other media critics who have pointed out Fox's role as a mouthpiece for Republican candidates and causes.