Staffers were reportedly shocked today when Fox News anchor and inconvenient truth-teller Shepard Smith suddenly resigned today, effective immediately.
From The Washington Post:
In a statement, Smith said, “Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter. After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged. The opportunities afforded this guy from small town Mississippi have been many. It’s been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor.”
From The New York Times:
A fixture of Fox News, Mr. Smith joined the network as a correspondent at its start in 1996 and became one of its most visible journalists. He is leaving in the middle of his current contract, a rarity in the cutthroat television business, and he told viewers on Friday that under his exit agreement, “I won’t be reporting elsewhere at least in the near future.”
Several of his Fox News colleagues appeared shocked by Mr. Smith’s decision to depart. “I’m a little stunned and a little heartbroken,” the anchor Neil Cavuto, who follows Mr. Smith on weekdays, told viewers moments after Mr. Smith had concluded his 3 p.m. broadcast. It appeared that Mr. Cavuto had no advance warning of Mr. Smith’s decision.
John Roberts, Fox News’s chief White House correspondent, called the move “completely shocking” and compared learning of the news to being “hit by a subway train.”
Fox has denied reports that Smith was escorted out of the building by security.
One person who will be delighted by Smith's departure is Donald Trump. He has repeatedly lashed out at Smith, as recently as yesterday. Probably, Trump’s Fox News lickspittles will share the glee. Late last month Tucker Carlson attacked Smith on the air for standing by the legal opinion of Fox’s own senior judicial analyst over a Trumper guest who called the analyst “a fool.” The legal analyst had said Trump had probably committed an impeachable offense. Fox News management reportedly responded by threatening to fire Smith.
The timing of Smith's resignation could not be more suspicious. Wednesday night, Rupert Murdoch met privately with William Barr. Earlier in the day, Trump whined that Fox “doesn’t deliver for US anymore. It is so different than it used to be.” In August, he complained, “Fox isn’t working for us anymore.”
There’s also this:
By popular demand.— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) October 11, 2019
Left, Fox's Shepard Smith Reporting, 3 p.m.
"Time to meet Igor and Lev. They reportedly enjoyed lunch hours ago with one Rudy Giuliani."
Right, The Atlantic
At 3 PM, Giuliani reportedly shouts "asshole" at the TV. pic.twitter.com/83IMes8xs5
And this from The Washington Post:
A former Fox staffer who has recently been in touch with Smith said that the spat with Carlson was a last straw, and that Smith had grown frustrated in recent months by the repeated attacks on the news division by other opinion hosts. Fox declined comment; Smith was not available for an interview.
When Trump complained in August that Fox “isn’t working for us anymore,” Cavuto responded with a blistering commentary, saying, “I don’t work for you.” Other Fox personalities pushed back too, albeit more gently.
I wonder if they still think so.
In his closing statement today, an emotional-sounding Smith said, “Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive.”
I hope so, too, Shep. May the force be with you.
Watch Smith’s sign off below, from the October 11, 2019 and final edition of Shepard Smith Reporting.
Correction: This post originally stated the Murdoch met with Barr last night.
Also to his credit I’ve read endless tweets in conservative threads like #MAGA and #FoxNews crying for boycotts of Shep’s show and demanding his firing. So Shep wasn’t interested in serving up Kool Aid to Fox’s core audience who expect to be constantly stroked and coddled.
I see Shep fitting in at CNN if they can find him a slot. Not so much MSNBC which relies heavily on ‘analyst’ interviews and doesn’t broadly report news which is Shep’s bread and butter.
I wish Shep well.
I don’t have sympathy for him, or for Cameron, or for Chris Wallace, for that matter. They knew where they were working and they took the paychecks. Nobody forced them to take millions of dollars to compromise their principles.
Smith could possibly find work at another network at some point, I’m sure – but the stench of the Right Wing propaganda tends to make this difficult for anyone to get a straight job after leaving that building. And frankly, it should. I realize these guys want to be redeemed, but it’s a little late for that. Just as the angry Right Wingers who have supported the Pence White House will find out, there’s no walking back this kind of thing. One just has to live with their shame and understand that it’s a consequence of taking that money.
Re Cavuto, he’s already so completely compromised that I can’t see him leaving. Jon Stewart had him correctly pegged when he coined the term “Cavuto Mark”. Which indicates “just asking” a nonsense propaganda “question” and pretending that it could have any journalistic legitimacy.
That fool, Tucky-the son of a failed politician-was the final straw. Old man Murdoch is also part of the problem, the old goat. He should have retired years ago. He spends his time on the top floor of this satanic skyscraper and when he’s not there, the old goat flies off in his private jet to the U.K. and Australia.
Cavuto should walk out, too. All staffers should walk out and leave this demented network.
The Heels is useless. Fire her.
Fox “News” essentially came down on the side of Fucker the Carlson in that dispute.