The Real Reason Why Shepard Smith Is Leaving Fox News

The Real Reason Why Shepard Smith Is Leaving Fox News

Veteran broadcast journalist Shepard “Shep”
Smith sent shockwaves throughout newsrooms across America when he announced his departure
from Fox News in an on-air goodbye message on October 11th, 2019. “This is my last newscast here. Thank you for watching today and over the
decades.” After 23 years with the network, this is the
real reason why Shepard Smith is leaving Fox News. Fox didn’t want to lose him Before you get the idea that Fox News wanted
Shepard Smith out for his unbiased reporting and occasional criticism of other network
figures, think again. Journalist Brian Stelter reported for CNN: “Executives at the network leaned on him to
stay, but to no avail. He announced his departure on the air, then
exited the building immediately, clearly emotional about saying goodbye to his television home
of twenty years.” Smith’s own take echoed this reporting, with
the journalist noting how Fox News was eager for him to remain at the network: “Recently, I asked the company to allow me
to leave Fox News, and after requesting that I stay, they obliged.” Although we can’t imagine it was always smooth
sailing between these parties, it’s reasonable to assume Fox News was sad to see one of their
most reputable reporters sign off. But they didn’t beg him Fox News executives reportedly didn’t work
overtime to keep Smith, because his ratings were supposedly lower than some of his colleagues,
such as political commentators Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. Despite Fox News’ efforts to keep Smith on
board, they ultimately felt it wasn’t worth their time to go above and beyond to do so. According to The Daily Beast, “A source close to Fox News management said
the thinking among network brass was that the lucrative evening ratings outweighed the
need to keep Smith happy while paying him $15 million a year for his daytime role that
did not bring in as many viewers.” Still, this doesn’t mean his bosses didn’t
admire him. Jay Wallace, the president and executive editor
of Fox News Media, released a statement that said, in part: “Shep is one of the premier newscasters of
his generation and his extraordinary body of work is among the finest journalism in
the industry. 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.” It wasn’t the ratings Smith’s ratings were good overall, despite
not matching those of the primetime opinion hosts. Business Insider reported: “Fox News is the most-watched cable news network,
and Smith beat out his 3 PM time slot competitors on other networks, including CNN and MSNBC,
by double-digit Nielsen Media Research ratings.” Still, this truth didn’t stop President Donald
Trump from bashing Smith for his so-called bad ratings. The Hill reported that Trump told reporters: “I don’t know. Is [Smith] leaving? That’s a shame. Is he leaving because of bad ratings? If he’s leaving, I assume he’s leaving because
he had bad ratings. He had the worst ratings at Fox.” Trump eventually added that he wished Smith
well. Clashes with opinion hosts It’s safe to say that Shepard Smith wasn’t
necessarily happy with Fox News’ primetime opinion block, telling Time in 2018: “We serve different masters. We work for different reporting chains, we
have different rules. They don’t really have rules on the opinion
side. They can say whatever they want. If it’s their opinion. I don’t really watch a lot of opinion programming. I’m busy.” The news anchor also said he would “never”
work for the opinion division, adding, “I get it that some of our opinion programming
is there strictly to be entertaining. I get that. I don’t work there. I wouldn’t work there. I don’t want to sit around and yell at each
other and talk about your philosophy and my philosophy. That sounds horrible to me.” It’s reasonable to theorize that Smith was
tired of working at a network where some colleagues didn’t have to play by the same rules as the
news division. Sean Hannity dissed him The feeling is mutual with at least some of
the Fox News opinion hosts. In 2017, Sean Hannity slammed Smith, stating
on his radio show: “Shep is a friend. I like him. But he’s so anti-Trump. He went off on a rant last week. That’s fine. But it’s different.” In response to Hannity’s jab, Smith released
a statement to Mediaite: “Sometimes facts are displeasing. Journalists report them without fear or favor.” A Tucker Carlson feud boiled over The ongoing feud between Smith and Tucker
Carlson reached a breaking point in September 2019. Carlson’s guest, lawyer Joe diGenova, slammed
one of Smith’s guests, Judge Andrew Napolitano, for calling President Donald Trump’s phone
call with the President of Ukraine “criminal.” DiGenova referred to Judge Napolitano as a
“fool,” a jab Carlson didn’t challenge. The exchange didn’t sit well with Smith. “Attacking our colleague, who is here to offer
legal assessments, on our air, in our work home, is repugnant.” Carlson fired back on his own show: “Unlike maybe some dayside hosts, I’m not
very partisan, and it was a sincere question.” As for Fox News’ response? Network execs reportedly didn’t like Smith’s
takedown. Vanity Fair reported in late September 2019
that Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace supposedly told Smith to, quote,
“stop attacking Carlson,” with a source claiming, “They said if he does it again, he’s off the
air.” A spokesperson for the network later “denied
that management had any direct conversation with Smith.” Smith reportedly felt like Fox News didn’t
have his back during the feud. Brian Stelter reported for CNN, “The network’s lack of a vocal defense for
Smith following the incident bothered him and the whole episode factored into his decision
to leave, according to a person familiar with the matter.” Committed to the truth Shepard Smith has repeatedly emphasized his
commitment to reporting the facts. “Together with my colleagues, we’ve written
a first draft of history, and endeavoured to deliver it to you while speaking truth
to power.” This is one possible reason why he decided
to leave Fox News. “Sources have said to me he wasn’t in it for
the money. He was in it to try to counter all of the
nonsense the opinion hosts would air all the time.” Smith echoed this sentiment in an interview
with Time, stating about the direction of Fox News: “I wonder if I stopped delivering the facts,
what would go in its place in this place that is most watched, most listened, most viewed,
most trusted? I don’t know.” Considering the considerable criticism Fox
News has taken for the nature of its reporting over the years, it would be understandable
if Smith couldn’t hold up his end of the bargain any longer. One staffer told CNN that “it was clear [Smith]
wasn’t happy, on air and off air,” while another claimed, “it probably just got to be too much.” He’ll be okay Although it’s sad to see an accomplished journalist
depart from Fox News in a seemingly sudden fashion, it’s likely Shepard Smith will be
okay no matter what. The Mississippi native will likely have plenty
of work opportunities, with his rep explaining to Deadline, “He will be taking an extended period of time
off to be with his family. Following that – who knows – he is not retiring.” Despite Smith’s statement noting how his exit
deal with Fox News will keep him off the air for a bit… “Under our agreement, I won’t be reporting
elsewhere, at least in the near future.” …an insider told The Daily Beast that Smith,
quote, “expects to have a new job within a year.” And Smith retains respect from his newsroom
colleagues, with many staffers telling CNN he was a “role model.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Nicki Swift videos about your
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