Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas Ricks has guts, I will say that.  If he were a wrestler, he would have gotten points for a takedown in an interview he was involved in on Monday.

The opponent on the receiving end of Ricks’ takedown move in this case was Fox News.

Thomas E. Ricks
Thomas E. Ricks (Photo credit: Philip Weiss)

Oh, don’t worry, Fox News fans, it was only a temporary takedown.  But it sure did seem to take some breath out of the Fox host asking Ricks questions about the September attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans — including an ambassador — were killed, which has turned into a political football that’s been kicked around for weeks now.

In the interview — which was apparently cut in half from its allotted time following Ricks’ combative statements against Fox News, and which I’ll feature here — Ricks raised an important point:  how many Americans have been attacked and/or killed in attacks while serving at diplomatic posts in the years before the attack on Benghazi, and why is so much attention focused on this latest tragedy?

The answer:  politics.  It’s as simple as that.  In a case like this, it’s generally politics that gets drummed up starting with Fox News.  And that’s not the role of a journalistic organization.  Journalists need to investigate and ask tough questions, but there are also times when motives behind that questioning become blatantly obvious.  All Ricks did in his “takedown” on Monday was to point that out.

So, again, if people are going to get so upset over how the attack in Benghazi was handled, how upset were they in every other attack on an American diplomatic post in the decades past, whether the sitting president happened to be a Democrat or a Republican?

Here’s a chart to help in reflecting upon that question.

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