Shep Smith had been with Fox News since 1996, but after Trump and his Fox primetime host allies complained, Fox pushed him out.
Smith announced that Friday was his last show on Fox News, “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. 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.”
Video of Smith making the announcement to his audience:
Shep Smith announces that today was his last show and he's leaving Fox News pic.twitter.com/JF28ub1js6
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) October 11, 2019
When an anchor with years left on his contract suddenly leaves on a Friday, something happened, and that something is rumored to be complaints:
Based on what I'm hearing, it's almost too obvious what happened: Fox's primetime stars, especially Ingraham, whined to brass about Shep's fact-checky jabs. Fox gave him an ultimatum; he refused. They pushed him out. https://t.co/ya9rgt3qsT
— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) October 11, 2019
Trump and Sean Hannity have nightly bedtime chats, so it is a safe bet that the bosses at Fox got the message from the White House.
After Attorney General William Barr met with Rupert Murdoch, Smith was out the next day. Since nothing in politics is a coincidence, it is likely that the White House, specifically, Fox’s biggest fan in the Oval Office complained.
Trump had previously tweeted a complaint about Smith:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2019
It is not difficult to piece together what happened. The White House and Trump Fox primetime host allies, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham went to Murdoch and complained. Fox responded by telling Shep Smith to get with the program, or else. Shep Smith chose or else, and now he is gone.
Smith will have no trouble getting a new job once his non-compete clause expires.
The bigger message here is that Fox News has decided to go down with the Trump ship. Fox News is Trump propaganda, and the message sent to all Republicans is that they better get on board or get out.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association