This Jan. 30, 2017 photo shows Fox News Channel chief news anchor Shepard Smith on The Fox News Deck before his “Shepard Smith Reporting” program, in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
After making a $500,000 donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists, former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith broke his silence for the first time since leaving the network abruptly last month.
The event, the International Press Freedom Awards dinner, was held to “recognize journalists who had persevered through hardship and government oppression in Brazil, India, Nicaragua and Tanzania.” According to New York Times writer Michael Grynbaum, the “Committee to Protect Journalists, founded in 1981, works to advance press freedoms, particularly in dictatorial and autocratic countries. In recent years, speakers at its gala have increasingly referred to Mr. Trump’s attacks on the press and the hostile atmosphere faced by American journalists.”
Given the group’s name, it’s no surprise Smith told the audience that the press is a victim of intimidation. He said:
Intimidation and vilification of the press is now a global phenomenon. We don’t have to look far for evidence of that. We know that journalists are sometimes wary of being perceived as activists for some cause. But press freedom is not the preserve of one political group or one political party. It’s a value embedded in our very foundational documents. Journalists need to join hands to defend it.
said that heads were nodding throughout the room after Shep made this remark. I don’t doubt it.
Smith went on to say, “Our belief a decade ago that the online revolution would liberate us now seems a bit premature, doesn’t it? Autocrats have learned how to use those same online tools to shore up their power. They flood the world of information with garbage and lies, masquerading as news. There’s a phrase for that.”
Grynbaum noted that Smith did not mention President Trump by name, but everyone was aware to whom he’d been referring. He also said that Fox was a major sponsor of the event and there were several Fox anchors present. Grynbaum said that Smith had frequently been the President’s target. Trump called him Fox News‘ “lowest rated anchor,” and has often complained about the way the network covered him.
Smith had been openly critical of Trump on the air. Shortly before Smith suddenly left Fox, a disagreement over comments made by former U.S. Attorney Joe DiGenova during an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show escalated to the point where Carlson openly mocked Smith on the air. Smith had been with the network for 23 years.
Smith was one of the growing number of Fox anchors whose lean-leaning views have become increasingly obvious. Anti-Trumper Chris Wallace doesn’t even try to hide his contempt for Trump. Anchor John Roberts is another whose liberal views are unmistakable. Though Smith’s departure was swift, it was not necessarily surprising. He always seemed a better fit for CNN or MSNBC.
And contrary to his introductory remarks to the group, journalists are perceived as activists because they often act as activists. Over 90% of journalists are liberals and they move in lockstep. It’s as if they check-in with the DNC every morning to find out what the day’s talking points (and even words) are to be. Through their comments and statements, they work to shape the news rather than report the news. Then they complain about the “hostile atmosphere” they face.
Today’s journalists aren’t looking for freedom of the press as it was envisioned by our framers. Instead, they’re looking for the freedom to manipulate the news to fit their own agendas. They’re angry that they keep getting called out by conservatives. The rise of the conservative media has made it more and more difficult for them to get away with what they’d been doing for years and they’ve become frustrated by it.
Grynbaum mentions two Nicaraguan broadcast journalists, Lucía Pineda Ubau and Miguel Mora, who had been imprisoned for 172 days on false charges. Those two have every right to claim victim status. The overpaid journalists from the major media outlets in the U.S., who haven’t “persevered through hardship and government oppression” in foreign lands, not so much.
Former Fox Anchor Shepard Smith Donates Half a Million to Press Freedom Group https://t.co/bqUjas7Moo via @thedailybeast
— Miss Conception (@MissConception0) November 22, 2019
Shepard Smith Makes First Comments Since Leaving Fox, Decries 'Autocrats' Who Push 'Garbage and Lies, Masquerading as News' https://t.co/LLyr8GiYdg
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) November 22, 2019