If anything Shep Smith’s departure from Fox News is hopefully an indication that real news is trying to make a comeback. Though it is doubtful.
Smith who had been with the conservative news network since its inception in 1996, announced that last Friday’s show would be his last. For many in the news world, including Smith’s colleagues at Fox, the announcement came as a shock.
The newsman was a daily fixture for the 3 pm EST time slot. According to some sources, his show out-rated other cable news programs at the same time.
Speaking of Smith’s departure, Carl Cameron, a former reporter at Fox described it as being, “a sad day for people who watch Fox News and want accurate information.” He said, “Shep was somebody who you could reliably count on.”
In his opinion, Cameron said, the cable channel has been, for years, shrinking the news department and building its right-wing entertainment hosts (Tucker Smith, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham) “because that gets ratings, ratings get revenue.”
It wasn’t long before journalists on CNN, MSNBC and print journalism started to opine. Their message was of doom and gloom.
Smith’s departure, in their view, was a dark day for the truth being exposed in news. In essence, a deep dark schism was being created to silence news. One that they felt had its inception with the presidency of Donald J. Trump.
Some of them went as far as to say Fox News was in Trump’s pocket supporting him and his conspiracy theories about fake news and trying to silence it. As such, Smith could bear it no longer and had to go.
If Smith is the standard-bearer of what news is and should be, then we are all in trouble. The moment Trump came down the stairs of Trump Tower, to announce he was running for president, cable and print news journalists have been openly biased with their coverage.
Allow me to reiterate that point. Cable and print news journalists have been openly biased with their coverage of Trump the moment he came on the scene to run for president. Smith was no exception.
It is one thing for pundits and commentators to be biased. They oftentimes have a vested interested in taking sides. The same isn’t expected of journalists, who are supposed to deliver the news accurately, fairly, balanced and without biases. When this doesn’t happen, we all lose.
Unfortunately, Smith was not immune to adding his opinion in his delivery of news. Almost daily, he would pepper his show with his opinions, as though it was news. Like so many others in his profession, he seemed to have forgotten his journalism ethos.
A few journalists openly said it was their job to counter what the president was saying with their opinions. As such, they reported their opinions as though it was real news. It seemed they didn’t trust listeners to discern the news for themselves.
What was news has become daily opinions and personal biases. It is fair to say the two cable news networks (CNN, MSNBC) along with the big print media (Washington Post, The New York Times) have all folded their news into opinions.
That said, Fox News isn’t free of similar opinions. However, with Smith out the network’s weekly news platform can easily be broken down accordingly: Hard news is from 9 am – 12 pm EST; 6 pm – 8 pm EST. Everything else in between and after those times is a mixture of hard news moderated by anchors with commentators giving their analysis. Also, during the primetime hours, Fox has on-air personalities (talk show host) giving their opinion on the news.
I’m sure many Fox viewers will take issue with some of its journalists. Oftentimes it would appear the journalists ask tough questions and seemingly not support the president’s actions/decisions.
While Fox tends to lean conservative and supports those ideas, the job of the journalists isn’t to support the president or political party. It is their job to deliver the news accurately, fairly, balanced and without biases. Again a concept Smith and others seemed to have forgotten.
So while many of Smith’s colleagues are aghast at his departure and are heralding him as a martyr of truth in journalism, all I can say is Que sera, sera…