On Monday afternoon and then again on Tuesday, Shepard Smith was right there in his anchor chair at Fox News Channel’s top-rated Shepard Smith Reporting. So much for the rumors of his demise. Over the weekend, some Fox viewers were calling for the chief news anchor’s head over at the fair and balanced network.
Smith, who is also manager of the network’s breaking news division and has been with Fox since its inception in 1996, was frustrated last week at the never-ending news of Russian connections with members of the Trump administration, and the lack of answers forthcoming from the White House.
After it was learned on Thursday that fired national security advisor Michael Flynn had just registered as a foreign agent for Turkey, Smith’s exasperation overflowed when he bluntly blurted out that there was too much smoke, too much Russia, and too much lying going on.
That was apparently more than some Fox News supporters could bear, and now they are beating the drum to see Smith dismissed, spreading fake news that he had already been removed or was about to be removed.
Both Shepard Smith and Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace have pressed with hard-hitting questions instead of lobbing Hannity-style softball fluff when covering this White House, just as they have with previous administrations.
Sunday night, as my Facebook feed scrolled by, a status from someone over the mountain had an ugly picture of Smith and asked if anyone knew whether Shep had been fired because rumors were flying. The FB post has since been removed but I had asked why they wanted Shep gone, and was told that he was “pushing his own agenda” on his show, and basically belonged at MSNBC or CNN.
This is nothing new to Shep Smith, and not original to the Facebook poster, as pointed out in this January 2017 article:
” ‘You’re a liberal, Shep. You belong on MSNBC. President Trump doesn’t watch your show.’ Those are the printable messages, and illustrate the island he often finds himself upon.”
The article goes on to note:
Fox is the network of choice for an overwhelming majority of Trump supporters and Smith’s afternoon newscast is the place where they are most likely to encounter things they might not want to hear. In the past week, he pointed out that facts don’t support the president’s claim of widespread voter fraud. He said he doesn’t know upon what Trump bases his belief that torture works as an interrogation tactic, and said the new immigration policy is a jihadist’s dream. “We know because they’ve said so for years,” he said.
It’s his job to point out if the president isn’t being truthful, Smith said, and added:
“We’re the Fourth Estate,” he said in an interview. “We work for the people. It’s our job to find out what’s happening, to provide context and perspective and give them information that’s fair and truthful and as perfect as we can make it. The suggestion that we’re the opposition party is not worthy of a reply.”
Especially when it comes to Russia, I want hard questions asked, whether it’s Fox or MSNBC or CNN. Russia is not our friend. If Fox removes its news people for doing their jobs, who will remain to be fair and balanced? Who will remain to find the truth? Who will remain outside the echo chamber?
If the shoe was on the other foot, those same viewers would definitely want to know the truth. There comes a time when we have to be American more than we’re partisan. For the sake of national security, this is one of those times.