Fox News reportedly “thanked” news anchor Shepard Smith for standing up for the network’s own senior judicial analyst against smears from Tucker Carlson and a pro-Trump guest by threatening to fire Smith if he does it again.
A must-read article by Gabriel Sherman in Vanity Fair describes how the looming impeachment of Donald Trump has reportedly sent Fox News into “management bedlam.” The disarray has been apparent for a while. We have seen Trump-worshipers such as Sean Hannity ignore Fox’s reporting in favor of pro-Trump propaganda. Also, there have been some high-profile departures by those who have blasted the network for its “partisan misinformation” and calling it a “cult of Trump”
Nowhere was that disarray more apparent than in this week’s feud between Smith and Carlson. As I explained in a previous post, Carlson sided with pro-Trump lawyer Joseph diGenova, who has a history of unprofessional behavior, when he called Fox’s own senior judicial analyst “a fool” for opining that Trump had committed a crime in trying to strong arm Ukraine into digging up dirt for his personal political benefit. The next day, after Smith called the smear “repugnant” and went on to cite numerous respected attorneys who agree with Napolitano, Carlson, of all people, accused Smith of being a dishonest opinion host.
Smith's title is “Chief news anchor and managing editor, breaking news division.” But rather than stand up for two people it presumably pays because of their trustworthiness, the network threw them under the pro-Trump propaganda bus.
Sherman wrote yesterday:
Seeking to quell the internecine strife before it carried into a third day, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace communicated to Smith this morning to stop attacking Carlson, a person briefed on the conversation said. “They said if he does it again, he’s off the air,” the source said. (Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti denied that management had any direct conversation with Smith).
Will Smith and/or Napolitano walk out after this hideous slap in the face? If you ask me, Fox needs Smith’s fig leaf of news legitimacy more than Smith needs Fox. Ditto for Napolitano. That will be even more true if Trump goes down.
Published with permission from News Hounds.