If a Fox News anchor speaks truth in the middle of the day but no one pays attention, did it happen? Or better yet, does it matter?
Shepard Smith is reliably truthful about things, so when he took 30 seconds to turn to Fox News viewers and reassure them that the scary caravans Fox was promoting for the other 23 hours were just a political ploy, the Internet applauded. So many appreciative tweets. So much wonder. Shep Smith said a thing!
Oh, here's what he said, specifically, after first reporting that Donald Trump was sending 5,000 troops to the border Tuesday to get ready for the refugee caravan.
"The migrants, according to Fox News reporting, are two months away, if any of them actually come here. But [Tuesday] is one week before the midterm election, which is what all of this is about," he told viewers.
Reassuring his audience, he continued, "There is no invasion, no one's coming to get you, there's nothing at all to worry about."
"When they did this to us and got us all riled up in April, remember? There was all of 14 arrests. We're America, we can handle it."
There he goes again, saying the quiet parts out loud. So yes, in the span of under one minute, Shep Smith spoke truths which should have killed this whole story dead but won't. He said it was politically motivated, that it was connected to the midterms, that we're a big country and can handle it, that they're refugees who are walking across Mexico on foot and won't arrive for two months, if at all.
Let's not congratulate Fox News for letting Shep Smith out of his box. He's there to do exactly that, so they can keep playing the "fair and balanced" theme and have some plausible deniability.
I'm not sure how many viewers saw his show, and I'm fairly certain more tuned in to Donald Trump's little hatefest with Laura Ingraham later that evening, but for 30 seconds or so, truth was told. And that's about all Fox News can handle.