Shepard Smith announced an abrupt departure from Fox News Friday afternoon. There will be no more episodes of Shepard Smith Reporting.
“Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave FOX News and begin a new chapter. After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged. The opportunities afforded this guy from small town Mississippi have been many,” said Smith, 55, both on air and in the cable news network’s official statement.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor. I’ve worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I know and I’m proud to have anchored their work each day—I will deeply miss them.”
Smith also announced that he looks forward to spending more time with family, noting that he has no plans to work elsewhere—yet.
Full video: Shepard Smith's final sign off from Fox News pic.twitter.com/5fgyM81Gbj
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) October 11, 2019
Jay Wallace, Fox News Media’s president and executive editor, was also quoted in the statement, saying, “Shep is one of the premier newscasters of his generation and his extraordinary body of work is among the finest journalism in the industry. His integrity and outstanding reporting from the field helped put FOX News on the map and there is simply no better breaking news anchor who has the ability to transport a viewer to a place of conflict, tragedy, despair or elation through his masterful delivery.
“We are proud of the signature reporting and anchoring style he honed at FOX News, along with everything he accomplished here during his monumental 23-year tenure. 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.”
As the Daily Beast notes, Smith has been something of an outlier at the rightwing propaganda farm, due to his willingness to criticize Donald Trump and his circus of an administration, as well as his unique-to-Fox-News habit of fact-checking the thousands of lies the president has told since taking office, most recently his conspiracy theories about former Vice President and 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden. Considered a part of the network’s “straight news” division, Smith has recently been targeted by Trump for not glorifying him, and had an on-camera spat with Trump acolyte Tucker Carlson in September. Not even two weeks ago, Smith was reportedly ordered by Wallace and Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott to end the feud or be taken off the air.
Notably, the news comes just two days after Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News parent company News Corp., met in private with Attorney General William Barr.