- CNBC anchor Shepard Smith opened up about his struggles at Fox News in a new interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN.
- “If you feel like the Fox viewers were getting mis- or disinformation, I was there to make sure that they got it straight,” Smith said.
- Smith said the falsehoods from his colleagues on the opinion side became too much to bear, describing that element of the network as “injurious to society.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Shepard Smith, the former Fox News host now anchoring his own show at CNBC, unloaded on his former employer in a new interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.
Smith, who became a household name among Fox News viewers over the decades after hopping aboard at the network’s founding in 1996, left his post in October 2019.
“If you feel like the Fox viewers were getting mis- or disinformation, I was there to make sure that they got it straight,” Smith said.
—Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) January 19, 2021
“And to deprive those viewers of – it wasn’t just me, there’s an entire team of people getting the news to the air – to deny them that with the thought that [the network] might replace it with opinion instead, seemed a little selfish,” Smith said.
“So I stuck with it for as long as I could. And at some point, I realized I’d reached a point of diminishing returns, and I left.”
Yet the scenario Smith outlined regarding his thinking at the time – that network brass would take the 7 p.m. hour he helmed and move it over under the purview of an opinion host – is precisely what is happening now.
Fox News recently moved news anchor Martha MacCallum from the 7 p.m. slot to 3 p.m., with a rotating cast of opinion hosts auditioning for a new show.
Amanpour asked Smith how he feels about those recent developments, in addition to opinion hosts like Sean Hannity “doing campaign rallies for President Trump, so blurring the lines as to become the propaganda arm of the Republican Party.”
“Well, I feel the same way about that now that I did then,” Smith said. “My goal was just to keep the blinders on, and do my job to the best of my ability.”
Smith also delivered a harsh condemnation of the Fox News opinion side.
“Opine all you like, but if you’re going to opine, begin with the truth, and opine from there,” he said. “And it’s that deviation from that, that has caused me the greatest concern.
“And I believe that when people begin with a false premise and lead people astray, that’s injurious to society,” Smith continued, “and it’s the antithesis of what we should be doing.”
After Amanpour mentioned Hannity and the Murdoch family, who own the Fox News Channel along with several other prominent conservative-leaning outlets around the world, Smith said he hopes those in positions of power at Fox learn from their mistakes.
“I slept very well,” Smith said. “I don’t know how some people sleep at night, because I know there are a lot of people who have propagated the lies and have pushed them forward over and over again, who are smart enough and educated enough to know better. And I hope that at some point, those who have done us harm as a nation – and I might even add as a world – will look around and realize what they’ve done.
“But I’m not holding my breath.”