In a Time interview, Shepard Smith revealed he has little regard for the Trump propaganda machine that goes on around him at Fox News.
Smith just signed a multiyear contract renewal and, apparently, he felt the freedom to speak his mind. Clearly, concern for how Fox has turned into Trump TV is very much on his mind these days. For example, Time reports that Smith considered leaving his job (all emphases mine):
Being the old-fashioned anchorman and reporter at a network known for new-fashioned provocation and opinion may be the hardest job at Fox News, and one Smith mused about walking away from over the course of two interviews this winter.
At least one reason Smith decided to remain was his worry that Fox would not replace him with someone delivering facts and truth:
He’s decided to stay in some part because the times are so precarious. In his telling, before he signed his new contract, he was nervous about what would come on Fox’s air after he left. “To stop doing it would be bad because I think that there is a need for it and I know the degree to which we care about it and focus on it and we want it to be as perfect as it can be. And I wonder, if I stopped delivering the facts, what would go in its place in this place that is most watched, most listened, most viewed, most trusted? I don’t know.”
Time also noted the “increasingly uneasy” relationship between Smith and the opinion hosts at Fox.
In November 2017, Smith briskly and effectively debunked the “Uranium One” conspiracy theory, a particular bugbear of Hannity’s. Reporting live on the air in the hours after the February school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Smith read a list of schools that had endured fatal gun violence since Columbine. And this month, Smith said on-air that the president, who’d called for raising the age limit for buying firearms, had caved under political pressure: “The president told the kids at Parkland, ‘I’ll go strong on this, I’ll work on this age thing,’” Smith said. “And then he met with the NRA.” Smith’s treatment of these stories—and how that treatment differs from his opinion-host colleagues’—hasn’t gone unnoticed. Hannity, who wove the Uranium One scandal into his ongoing saga of Hillary Clinton’s mendacity, has called Smith “so anti-Trump.”
“I get it,” [Smith] says, “that some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining. I get that. I don’t work there. I wouldn’t work there. I don’t want to sit around and yell at each other and talk about your philosophy and my philosophy. That sounds horrible to me.”
“I know that [Trump] watches Fox & Friends in the morning, because he often tweets about it. But those aren’t the things I concern myself with. I try to find out what’s happening, as opposed to just listening to what they’re saying.”
“I think we have to make the wall between news and opinion as high and as thick and as impenetrable as possible. And I try to do that. And if I were doing this, there would be a lot more fact-based reporting, but it’s available for people who want it. I don’t know how badly they want it.”
I heartily recommend the full interview.
UPDATE: Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham are very offended that Smith doesn't think they are journalists.
Correction: The quote about opinion programming there "strictly to be entertaining" was inadvertently omitted from the original version of this post.
(Smith image via screen grab)
If Shep left Fox and was replaced by some faux reporter/partisan like Trace Gallagher who sometimes fills in for Shep the ratings for that time slot would explode. I’m serious. I see fanboys all the time in a rage over Shep and claiming they’re boycotting his show. Let the MAGA mouth breathers have their afternoon propaganda feed from Trump TV. It’s not like they have critical thinking skills Shep can get through to.
On another network Shep would thrive. I know I’d watch him more often. While I respect Shep, as long as he’s on Trump TV his reporting isn’t going to be any better than his sources which too often trace back to the partisan Fox swamp.
Too funny! 🤣