“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,” Smith said in a statement, and good riddance!
“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.”
Smith was among Fox’s first hires upon launching in 1996 and he became the network’s signature daytime newsman, often acting as the anchor to enter other broadcasts to helm coverage of breaking news like the 2015 Paris attacks and the 2014 riots in Ferguson, Missouri.
“Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day,” Smith said as he signed off his final broadcast. “That the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive.”
In a statement, Jay Wallace, president and executive editor of Fox News Media, 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.” He added, “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.”
Throughout the Trump era, Smith took on a “rogue” role at the network as Fox News became overtly pro-Trump in its commentary and news coverage. In many instances, as documented by The Daily Beast, Smith even fact-checked the right-wing conspiratorial musings of his own colleagues, resulting in not-so-subtle sparring with Fox stars like Sean Hannity.
As a result, Smith has prompted backlash from the president and many of the network’s viewers, who overwhelmingly tune in to the channel’s overtly conservative programs.
Trump has repeatedly whined about the anchor on Twitter, claiming he changes the channel when Smith’s show—which broadcasts in the middle of the workday—comes on the air. “Watching Fake News CNN is better than watching Shepard Smith, the lowest rated show on @FoxNews,” the president wrote earlier this year.
Earlier this month, Smith publicly clashed with Tucker Carlson, criticizing the Fox News primetime host for failing to defend their colleague Judge Andrew Napolitano when he was called a “fool” by a guest on Carlson’s show. Vanity Fair’s Gabe Sherman reported several days later that Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and network president Jay Wallace allegedly conveyed to Smith that if he did not stop attacking Carlson, he would be off the network.
In addition to his role as the network’s consummate newsman and fact-checker, Smith cultivated a reputation for delivering unfiltered, decidedly un-Fox-like on-air banter. “We are America! We do not fucking torture!” he once shouted during a 2009 digital show.
Publicly and privately, some of Smith’s Fox News colleagues reacted with disbelief at his departure. “Like you, I’m a little stunned and a little heartbroken,” said Neil Cavuto, another target of Trump’s ire, at the opening of his broadcast, which immediately followed Smith’s sign-off. “It was a total shock today to find out he’s leaving,” fellow news anchor Bret Baier tweeted. “He anchored breaking news—fast-moving events—better than anyone.”
“There’s no room for news here anymore,” a Fox News staffer told The Daily Beast, speaking anonymously for fear of reprisal, and to this I say! IF You can’t take the HEAT that get out the kitchen yo coward. Or how about you stop lying on all things Trump?