Despite a palpable shift to the left at Fox News, the very liberal Shepard Smith is stepping down from his role as Chief News Anchor and Managing Editor at the network after a public spat with host Tucker Carlson. According to Smith, he's leaving to begin "a new chapter" in his career, and his last day at the anchor desk will be today.
"Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter," Smith said, adding "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. I’ve worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I know and I’m proud to have anchored their work each day — I will deeply miss them."
Until Smith's replacement is found, the network will deploy a series of rotating anchors to host the 3 p.m. time slot.
Word of Smith's departure comes two weeks after a "war of words" broke out between Smith and fox anchor Tucker Carlson, after Smith called Carlson and legal analyst Joe diGenova "repugnant" in a daytime analysis of their reporting on the Democratically manufactured Ukrainegate scandal.
As we noted at the time, Smith was flanked by Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, who drew a starkly different conclusion on Trump's actions than pro-Trump lawyer diGenova, who appeared the night before on Carlson's show.
Napolitano concluded that Trump's actions regarding Ukraine constituted "a crime" during the day on Tuesday.
diGenova had called Napolitano a "fool" for his analysis on that night, to which Smith returned fire the following evening, stating that diGenova was a "partisan guest" who was "repugnant" for attacking Napolitano.
“Apparently our daytime host, who hosted Judge Napolitano, was watching last night and was outraged by what you said and quite ironically called you partisan,” Carlson replied.
Later, Carlson took yet another shot at Smith to conclude the segment:
“It doesn’t seem honest to me when a host, any host on any channel, including this one, pretends that the answer is obvious. That’s not news, is it? That’s opinion. Why do we find ourselves in a situation where people aren’t willing to admit that their passions are guiding their news coverage?
Wouldn’t it be better if we just said out loud you know this is what I think? For example you will never hear me criticize Rachel Maddow. I never agree with anything she says. But she is straightforward, it’s her opinion. Why wouldn’t it be better if we were all that transparent about what’s driving our shows?
It makes people cynical when you dress up news coverage, when you dress up partisanship as news coverage and pretend that your angry political opinions are news, you know, people tune out.”
And now Smith is out.
Fox said in a statement (via Forbes):
NEW YORK - October 11, 2019 — FOX NEWS Channel’s (FNC) Shepard Smith will step down from his role as Chief News Anchor and Managing Editor of the network’s breaking news unit and Anchor of Shepard Smith Reporting, announced Jay Wallace, President & Executive Editor of FOX News Media. This afternoon’s edition of Shepard Smith Reporting was Mr. Smith’s final show, during which he addressed his decision. A series of rotating anchors will host the 3PM/ET time slot until a new dayside news program is announced.
In making the announcement, Mr. Wallace said, “Shep is one of the premier newscasters of his generation and his extraordinary body of work is among the finest journalism in the industry. His integrity and outstanding reporting from the field helped put FOX News on the map and there is simply no better breaking news anchor who has the ability to transport a viewer to a place of conflict, tragedy, despair or elation through his masterful delivery. We are proud of the signature reporting and anchoring style he honed at FOX News, along with everything he accomplished here during his monumental 23-year tenure. While this day is especially difficult as his former producer, we respect his decision and are deeply grateful for his immense contributions to the entire network.”
Mr. Smith added, “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. I’ve worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I know and I’m proud to have anchored their work each day — I will deeply miss them.”
One of FNC’s original hires in 1996, Mr. Smith has covered virtually every major news story over the course of his career as both a correspondent and an anchor, playing a fundamental role in the network’s innovation of the way news is presented.
As the anchor of Shepard Smith Reporting (weekdays 3-4PM/ET), Mr. Smith utilized state-of-the-art news gathering techniques enhanced with advanced technologies, as well as digital and social media, to bring viewers the latest hard news from the signature studio known as The FOX News Deck.
Throughout the most recent portion of his tenure, Mr. Smith anchored numerous breaking news stories, including: the El Paso shooting; the Parkland school shooting; Hurricanes Dorian & Irma; the Las Vegas massacre; the 2016 terrorist attacks in Nice, France and Belgium; the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015; the 2014 riots following the shooting of civilian Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, MO; and the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, among many others.
Before taking the helm of the breaking news division with the advent of Shepard Smith Reporting, Mr. Smith anchored The FOX Report and Studio B, both of which ranked number one in their respective timeslots. In this role, among the stories he notably anchored were: the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013 along with the subsequent manhunt and ultimate capture of the Tsarnaev brothers; the financial crisis of 2008; the War in Iraq (2003); the War in Afghanistan (2001), as well as the murderous terrorist attacks and devastating aftermath of 9/11.
Additionally, Mr. Smith has traveled to Ukraine to report on the unrest in Kiev and Crimea, and reported live from Rome during the election of Pope Francis, as well as on the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI. In 2011, he was on location from Japan following the destructive earthquake and tsunami amid nuclear threats. During that same year, he provided significant news coverage of the anti-government protests and civil unrest in Egypt and Libya. Mr. Smith also reported extensively on the Middle East conflict between Israel and Hezbollah forces from Beirut, Lebanon in 2006.
Prior to joining FNC, Mr. Smith was a Los Angeles-based FOX News Edge correspondent, reporting on a wide range of stories for the FOX affiliate news service, including the crash of TWA Flight 800, the Montana Freeman standoff, and the Oklahoma City bombing. Before this, he gained extensive local news experience throughout the state of Florida serving as a reporter for WSVN-TV (FOX) in Miami, the former WCPX-TV (CBS) in Orlando, WBBH-TV (NBC) in Fort Myers, FL and WJHG-TV (NBC) in Panama City, FL where he began his television career.