Fox News is melting down over Shepard Smith.
He might have just signed a new, multi-year contract, but anchor Shephard Smith may still be the least liked person in the Fox News cafeteria. And now a food fight has broken out in public, with Fox hosts launching insults at each other.
Smith's long-running sin is that his afternoon program is not only based in fact, which makes it a Fox New anomaly, but Smith has lately been telling the truth about the channel's fact-free Trump cheerleaders.
“We serve different masters," Smith told Time magazine, when discussing Fox News' primetime lineup for right-wing talkers. "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," he added. "I’ve always said that I thought politics in America was weird and creepy, and lacked a connection to reality."
On Friday, Fox News' Trump cheering section fired back, with Sean Hannity attacking Smith as "clueless":
Shep Smith @shepnewsteam is greatest living breaking TV news anchor. @seanhannity is nation's most powerful political commentator But he's become Best Sourced most effective journalist probing #RussiaGate breaking more Legit News than most investigators including #WAPO & #NYTimes
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 16, 2018
Always liked Shep, but his comments were inconsiderate & inaccurate. The hard working team at the Ingraham Angle does real reporting, develops impt sources and scores big interviews. Very proud of them. https://t.co/3aR1EHAK3Z
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) March 16, 2018
No word yet from Tucker Carlson, who was clearly a target of Smith's slights about the rule-free hosts at night on Fox News.
Hannity, Ingraham, and Rivera all cling to the delusional idea that Fox News' partisan hosts double as super sleuths who dig up fresh news via gumshoeing.
They don't. They push garbage conspiracies for a living.
Just this week, the family of Seth Rich filed a lawsuit against Fox News exploited and desecrated the memory of their son for partisan gain. Hannity was out front in marketing a ghoulish storyline that turned a young murder victim into a star player in a fantasy scheme connecting the DNC to Wikileaks.
Because Smith most often deals in facts, he represents an outlier at Fox News. And he seems to relish his role of lonely truth teller at the channel.
He's made headlines this year knocking down White House spin about the Russia investigation being a "hoax." He also loudly bemoaned the fact that politicians (read: Republicans) can't step up to the NRA and address the country's gun violence epidemic.
Deciding whether he was going to resign with Fox News, Smith told Time he worried about what would air in his absence if he left.
"And 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.”