Shepherd Smith, Fox News' most competent man, announced his resignation on Friday afternoon, noting the Tremplistic take on news online. "I recently asked the company to let me leave Fox News," says Smith at the end of the afternoon Shepard Smith Reporting . "When they asked me to stay, they needed to." Smith has been with Fox News since its inception in 1996, and over time became an avatar of the ongoing battle between the network's relatively reasonable unit and its xenophobic bootleggers. This battle is finally over. News lost.
During his 23-year tenure, Smith built a reputation for editorial independence, presiding over credible news programs freed from partisan sophistry that permeated much of the rest of the network. While his colleagues spent countless broadcasts screaming for "her emails" and allowing fierce demonstrations like Dan Bongino aired, Smith showed real journalists and told true stories. "Gathering and reporting the news is the work of my life," Smith said at the end of Friday's program and distinguished himself in this work. Shepard Smith's reporting was not only good by Fox's low standards. It was an objectively good news program.
Smith's journalistic credibility undoubtedly gave cover to Fox News, because the organization could cite Smith as proof that it was indeed a news network, not just a channel for a flamboyant conservative agitprop. Over the years, some of Fox's critics have characterized Smith as a useful feat for his bosses – suggesting that although he was the "adult in the room", he was still in the room which made him an accomplice in the network's dishonest mission. And Fox News certainly did its best to marginalize Smith's heterodoxes by airing his show at 3 p.m. when most people watching Fox News probably do it with a muffled volume in hotel lobbies and airport terminals. Yet Smith did his best with what he had to work with. He spent an hour every day reporting the latest news, providing comments extracted from factual facts, and dispelling Trump's paranoid fantasies that his colleagues so often indulge in. If he served Fox's purpose, doing so, well, he served his viewers as well. He told the truth to a group of people who desperately needed to hear it.
Smith's countervailing role became even more important after Donald Trump became president and the nation went off the rails. Over the past three years, Smith has been transformed into a one-man fact-finding bureau, regularly denying the inaccurate allegations of Trump and his lackeys by Fox News. It was not a "fact check" in Glen Kessler's supposedly neutral sense, calling for inaccuracies on both sides, regardless of relative power positions. Rather, Smith turned specifically to the inaccurate stories told by Trump and his hangers-on. In 2017, when Sean Hannity and other Fox hosts breathed a sigh of voice, Nar. The story of Uranus One as a "real" scandal with Russia, Smith regularly reminded his viewers, that this is a sabotage tactic that aims to discredit Mueller's ongoing investigation. In the month leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, when the rest of Fox News presented wall cover to the so-called "migrant caravan" marching across Mexico to the southern border of America, Smith evaluated the story for what it was: a scare tactic to foment xenophobic passions and drive conservative voters to the ballot box. Earlier this year, when his colleagues rushed to massively belittle and dismiss the significance of Mueller's report, Smith consistently acknowledged the gravity of the report's conclusions.
In calling Trump so openly and often, Smith also tacitly calls out his own network to reinforce and activate the president's paranoid narcissism. Stressing that his colleagues' leading stories are littered with half-truths and inaccurate insinuations, Smith is clearly critical of those colleagues. Not surprisingly, his colleagues hated it. Hanity, Laura Ingramham, Tucker Carlson, and their recurring guest idiots kept Smith in a palpable contempt for what they thought was his liberal biases. Just last month, Smith and Carlson argued briefly with competing interpretations of Ukrainian history. (Smith reports that Trump may indeed have committed an inevitable crime in his scandalous telephone conversation with the President of Ukraine. Carlson, hmm, saw things the other way.) "When you dress news, when you dress, it's more partisan than news coverage. and pretend your angry political opinions are news, you know, people are adjusting, "Carlson says at the time in response to Smith, but he does not accuse him of liberal bias. This is Fox News in a nutshell: Wholeness is ridiculed as addiction, while sophistry is cemented as news.
Shortly afterwards, according to Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, Fox Brass ordered Smith to step down and stop fighting with Carlson. (Fox News denied having such a conversation.) Two weeks later, Smith resigned. On Friday's program, Smith noted that the decision to leave was the only one, and it is certainly possible. Maybe he's leaving for personal reasons. Perhaps Smith reads the room and finds it increasingly hostile to his work. He may no longer be comfortable with providing plausible negativity to the network.
As early as 2018, when Smith signed a multi-year contract with Fox News, which he is currently moving away from, he told Time that he remained on the web partly in fear of what kind of programming would replace him if he left. It's not hard to figure out what kind of show is likely to come next: more red meat is thrown on a furious basis. Smith's resignation removes the biggest obstacle to Fox News's editorial uniform, making it much easier for the network to follow the party line as the 2020 presidential election approaches and the state of impeachment. This is aside from Andrew Napolitano, the independent conservative forensic analyst who was a frequent guest on Shepard Smith Reporting . He leaves Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace – and perhaps Geraldo Rivera (!) – as the most famous independent cast remaining on the network. And it emphasizes the extent to which Fox News does not want to tolerate any substantial disagreement with Trump's program. "Even in our polarized nation, I hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive," Smith said in his latest signal. They will no longer do so – at least on Fox News.
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