At first it was shocking breaking news but upon reflection, not that surprising, when the FOX News anchor Shep Smith delivered to his audience, the announcement that he was leaving the Fox News division after 23 years at the same desk. When he transitioned his 3:00 PM ET show over to the business news host, Neil Cavuto couldn’t hide his feelings of shock where he openly shared that he was stunned and saddened by the news.
It was not a surprising development because on a daily basis he was the one journalistic professional who delivered the truth, the straight news to a FOX audience who were fans of right wing propaganda/ conspiracy theories presented by the opinion news pundits on the prime-time evening shows, like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Jeannine Pirrot and others.
The republican President Donald Trump was becoming increasingly more critical of Fox News because on occasion, the straight news on Fox News TV did not always please him. Unfortunately, reporting the truth about the news of the day were not always in President Trump’s favor. For example, a recently published Fox News polls, indicated that 51% of Americans are approving of him being impeached and removed from office, upset him tremendously. What was worse is that over 20% of GOP members agreed with this sentiment.
Is it a coincidence that on the evening of the 10th of October 2019, the president’s fixer, the Attorney General William Barr had dinner with Rupert Murdoch, long-time owner of Fox, and the next day, voila, Shep Smith is announcing his departure in the middle of his 2018 contract where he was earning about $15 million dollars annually? Incidentally, right after his 3:00 PM show, Mr. Smith was immediately escorted out of the building by security personnel.
Here is the rest of the story…
As per the 10/11/2019 New York Times report, “Shepard Smith, Fox News Anchor, Abruptly Departs From Network” by Michael M. Grynbaum:
“In an announcement that stunned colleagues, Mr. Smith concluded his Friday newscast by signing off from Fox News — for good. “Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave,” Mr. Smith said calmly. “After requesting that I stay, they obliged.”
“But one hint at the strain on Mr. Smith was his decision to leave in the middle of his multiyear contract, which he signed in 2018. Exiting partway through a deal is a rarity in the cutthroat television business and the move is likely to cost him millions of dollars. Mr. Smith also agreed to abide by a noncompete clause, telling viewers, “I won’t be reporting elsewhere, at least in the near future.”
“Carl Cameron, a Fox News reporter who left the network in 2017 and has since become an outspoken critic, said he was “not the least bit surprised” by Mr. Smith’s decision.
“He’s a warrior and he stayed in the war longer than anybody should have,” Mr. Cameron said in an interview on Friday. “We both would reassure ourselves that authentic, factual news was a way to distinguish ourselves in what was becoming an increasingly more and more partisan network.”
“With Mr. Smith’s exit, Fox’s news coverage will be led by other star nonpartisan anchors, including Bret Baier, the “Fox News Sunday” moderator Chris Wallace and Martha MacCallum. At a recent panel discussion in New York with advertisers, Ms. MacCallum defended the network’s journalism, saying pointedly of Mr. Trump, “Contrary to the opinion of some people, he’s not our boss.”
“Fox News released a poll this week that showed a majority of respondents in favor of Mr. Trump being impeached, prompting a presidential rebuke. On Twitter, Mr. Trump lamented that Fox News was “much different than it used to be in the good old days,” citing by name Mr. Smith and the former Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, now a paid Fox News analyst.”
“In March, the president lobbed another insult at Mr. Smith, saying that, along with a pair of Fox News weekend anchors, he should be working at CNN, a network the president often accuses of having a liberal bias.”
“The relationship between Mr. Trump and Fox News is closely scrutinized — so much so that an alternate theory sprang up on social media on Friday about Mr. Smith’s abrupt exit.”
“Some wondered if Mr. Trump had orchestrated the departure of his least-favorite Fox News anchor through a private meeting this week between Rupert Murdoch, the mogul who controls the network, and Mr. Trump’s attorney general, William Barr.”
“A spokesman for Mr. Smith, Chris Giglio, said “there is absolutely no truth” to a connection between the two events. “This was Shep’s decision and his alone,” Mr. Giglio wrote in an email on Friday. “He’s taking an extended period of time off to be with his family. Following that who knows — he is not retiring.”
Mr. Murdoch is usually reluctant to make prominent personnel moves at his media properties because of public or private pressure. And Mr. Trump, asked at the White House on Friday if he had a connection to Mr. Smith’s exit, sounded surprised by the news.
“Did I hear Shepard Smith is leaving?” he asked reporters on the South Lawn. “Is he leaving because of bad ratings? Tell me, I don’t know.” He added: “I wish him well.”
“In his signoff on Friday, Mr. Smith ended his Fox News career with words that are likely to be read closely for any meaning between the lines.”
“Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day,” Mr. Smith said. “That the truth will always matter. That journalism and journalists will thrive. I’m Shepard Smith, Fox News, New York.”
Link to entire report: nytimes.com/ Shep Smith, Fox News Anchor, Abruptly Departs From Network
NYT: More on the meeting between William Barr and Rupert Murdoch.
As per 10/11/2019 CNN report, “Why Shep Smith finally walked out of Fox News for good” by Brian Stelter:
Last month Shep Smith decided that he had simply had enough.