Shepard Smith leaves Fox News Channel

NEW YORK — Shepard Smith, whose newscast on Fox News Channel seemed increasingly an outlier on an outlet dominated by supporters of President Donald Trump, abruptly quit after signing off his final newscast on Friday.

Smith, who had signed a contract extension last spring, said that he had asked the network to let him out of his deal and it had agreed.

“Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive,” he said.

His departure comes one day after Attorney General William Barr met privately with media mogul Rupert Murdoch, founder of Fox News, although Smith’s representatives cautioned against conflating the two events.

Trump has been increasingly critical of personalities on Fox News that he views as disloyal. On Thursday, the president cited Smith and Fox analysts Andrew Napolitano and Donna Brazile in a tweet that said, “Fox News doesn’t deliver for US anymore. It is so different than it used to be.”

Neil Cavuto, who anchors the broadcast following Smith’s, looked shocked after the announcement.

“Whoa,” Cavuto said. “Like you, I’m a little stunned.”

Smith was one of Fox News Channel’s original hires in 1996, and was a particular favourite of Roger Ailes, the former Fox chairman who was ousted in 2016 following misconduct charges and died the following spring. While he often angered many of Fox’s conservative viewers, Smith’s work was most prominently cited by the network when it received criticism for being too partisan.

On his afternoon newscast, Smith had frequently given tough reports debunking statements made by Trump and his supporters — even the Fox News opinion hosts that rule the network’s prime-time lineup.

Two weeks ago, Smith clashed with Tucker Carlson that started when Napolitano, speaking on Smith’s program, said that it was a crime for Trump to solicit aid for his campaign from a foreign government, in this case Ukraine. Later that night, Carlson asked his own analyst, Joseph diGenova, about that and he called Napolitano a fool.

The next day, Smith said that “attacking our colleague who is here to offer legal assessments, on our air, in our work home, is repugnant.”

In an interview with Time magazine in March 2018, Smith said that “they don’t really have any rules on the opinion side.

“They can say whatever they want,” he said. “Some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining. I get that. I don’t work there. I wouldn’t work there.”

On a broadcast in July, Smith called out Trump over his “misleading and xenophobic eruption” of criticism aimed at a group of Democratic congresswoman who are minorities, saying the president’s remarks were part of a pattern of distraction and division.

“The news department (at Fox) has just taken a huge hit with the loss of Shep,” said Carl Cameron, a longtime former reporter at Fox. “For journalists like Chris Wallace and Bret Baier, it’s going to get even harder.”

Smith, 55, said he is not retiring, although his agreement with Fox will forbid him from working elsewhere “at least in the near future.”

Fox said that a news broadcast would continue in its 3 p.m. ET hour with rotating substitute anchors.

Just Posted

Red Deer’s Dream Centre for addictions treatment is approved on appeal

Several conditions are attached to the approval

Derailed train in Saskatchewan released 1.5 million litres of oil: TSB

LANIGAN, Sask. — The Transportation Safety Board says Monday’s fiery Canadian Pacific… Continue reading

Alberta NDP wants new ethics review of government over election watchdog firing

EDMONTON — Alberta’s Opposition is renewing its attempt to have the ethics… Continue reading

Alberta premier says energy war room will be respectful as it takes on critics

CALGARY — Alberta’s United Conservative government has opened its war room to… Continue reading

New trial ordered for Ottawa man, ex-lover convicted in grisly murder

Ontario’s top court has ordered a new trial for an Ottawa man… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Friday The Annual Old-Fashioned Country Christmas is being held Dec. 13 at… Continue reading

Derailed train in Saskatchewan released 1.5 million litres of oil: TSB

LANIGAN, Sask. — The Transportation Safety Board says Monday’s fiery Canadian Pacific… Continue reading

Alberta NDP wants new ethics review of government over election watchdog firing

EDMONTON — Alberta’s Opposition is renewing its attempt to have the ethics… Continue reading

Leonard scores 23 points to lead Clippers to 112-92 rout of Raptors

Clippers 112 Raptors 92 TORONTO — On a night Kawhi Leonard was… Continue reading

Alberta premier says energy war room will be respectful as it takes on critics

CALGARY — Alberta’s United Conservative government has opened its war room to… Continue reading

New trial ordered for Ottawa man, ex-lover convicted in grisly murder

Ontario’s top court has ordered a new trial for an Ottawa man… Continue reading

Report suggests agriculture needs changes to save climate and farmers

Farming needs to change to help save the climate and farmers themselves,… Continue reading

Police investigate after woman, two young sons found dead in east-end Montreal home

MONTREAL — Police officers who showed up at an east-end Montreal home… Continue reading

Most Read