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Home / US / Shepard Smith told the truth to an audience that needed to hear it.

Shepard Smith told the truth to an audience that needed to hear it.

  Shepard Smith, seen in 2009.

Shepard Smith evoked the half-truths and inaccurate allusions that led to the broadcasts of his colleagues, and they hated him for it. [19659004] Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images

Shepard Smith, the most capable man on Fox News, announced his resignation on Friday afternoon, marking Trumpist's almost complete adoption of the network's news priorities. "Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News," Smith said at the end of the afternoon Shepard Smith Reporting . "After being asked to stay, they were obliged to." Smith had been with Fox News since launching in 1996, and over time evolved into an avatar of the ongoing battle between the network's relatively sensible newsroom and the xenophobic bootlickers on its side. This fight is finally over. Lost messages.

During his 23-year tenure, Smith developed a reputation for editorial independence and presided over reliable newscasts devoid of the party-political sophistry that permeates much of the rest of the network. While his colleagues in countless programs roared "their e-mails" and left angry jerks like Dan Bongino in the air, Smith presented real journalists and reported on real stories. "Collecting and reporting messages has been my life's work," Smith said at the end of Friday, and was outstanding at this work. Shepard Smith Reporting was not only good for Fox's low standards. It was an objectively good newscast.

Smith's journalistic credibility undoubtedly provided cover for Fox News, as the organization could point to Smith as proof that it was indeed a news network, not just a channel for passionate conservative agitprop. Over the years, some Fox critics had characterized Smith as a useful stooge to his bosses – implying that although he was "the adult in space," he was still in space making him complicit in the dishonest mission of the network. And Fox News has certainly done its best to marginalize Smith's Heterodoxy. when most people saw Fox News, it probably did with the volume muffled in the hotel lobbies and airport terminals. Nevertheless, Smith did his best with what he had to work with. He spent an hour every day reporting on the latest news, providing commentary taken from the actual facts, and dispelling the paranoid Trumpist fantasies that his colleagues so often endured. Serving Fox's goals, he also served his audience. He told the truth to a group of people who needed to hear it.

Smith's counter-role became even more important when Donald Trump became president and the nation went out of control. For the last three years, Smith has turned into a one-man fact-checking office that routinely refutes the inaccurate claims of Trump and his lackeys on the Fox News page. This was not a "fact check" in the supposedly neutral sense of Glenn Kessler's, in which inaccuracies are displayed on both sides, regardless of their respective positions of power. Rather, Smith specifically addressed the inaccurate stories Trump and his followers shared. When Sean Hannity and other Fox pollsters in 2017 praised the so-called Uranium One story as a "real" Russia scandal, Smith regularly reminded his viewers that it was a distraction tactic designed to preemptively discredit the ongoing Mueller investigation , In the month before the 2018 mid-term election, in which the rest of Fox News was reported from wall to wall on the so-called "Caravan of Migration" marching through Mexico to the southern border of the United States, Smith rated the story as something she was : a terror The tactic was to incite xenophobic passions and bring conservative voters to the polls. At the beginning of this year, when his colleagues wanted to downplay and reject the importance of the Mueller report, Smith consistently acknowledged the seriousness of the report's conclusions.

By so openly and often proclaiming, Trump silently called his own network to reinforce and facilitate the presidential paranoid narcissism. Stressing that his colleagues' key stories were interspersed with half-truths and inaccurate allusions, Smith clearly criticized these colleagues. Not surprisingly, his colleagues hated this. Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson and their recurring cast of hostages held Smith in tangible contempt for what they considered his liberal bias. Just last month, Smith and Carlson briefly argued about their competing interpretations of Ukrainian history. (Smith reported that Trump may indeed have committed a criminal offense in his infamous telephone conversation with the President of Ukraine.) Carlson, um, saw things differently.) "Disguising the newsletters rather disguises itself as a partisan partisanship as if your angry political opinions are news, you know people are shutting down, "Carlson said at the time in response to Smith, almost accusing him of liberal bias. These are the Fox News in a nutshell: integrity is being ridiculed as bias, while sophistry is anchored as news.

Soon after, Fox Brass ordered Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair Smith to retire and stop the fight with Carlson. (Fox News denied that such a conversation had taken place.) Two weeks later, Smith announced his retirement. On the Friday program, Smith found that the decision to leave the program was his own, and that's certainly possible. Maybe he leaves for personal reasons. Maybe Smith read the room and found him increasingly inhospitable to his work. Perhaps he was no longer comfortable with providing the network with plausible denial.

When Smith signed the multi-year deal with Fox News in 2018, from which he is leaving, he told Time that he had remained on the network, partly for fear of what kind of programming would replace him. It's not hard to guess what kind of show will come next: more red meat being thrown on a rabid base. Smith's resignation removes the biggest obstacle to editorial consistency from Fox News and makes it easier for the network to keep up with party boundaries when the 2020 presidential election and the impeachment hearings are pending. Andrew Napolitano, the independent conservative legal analyst who frequently visited Shepard Smith Reporting took a back seat. It leaves Fox News Sunday Chris Wallace – and possibly Geraldo Rivera (!) – as the most prominent independent voices in the network. And it underscores the extent to which Fox News does not want to tolerate any material contradiction to the Trumpist agenda. "Even in our currently polarized nation, I hope the facts will win the day, that the truth will always be important, that journalism and journalism will thrive," Smith said in his final decision. They will not do it anymore – at least not in Fox News.

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