Former Fox News host Shep Smith made his debut on CNBC Wednesday with a somber segment condemning the disastrous first presidential debate.
Smith opened his new program, “The News with Shep Smith,” by explaining that under normal circumstances, the newscast would lead with the best sound and video from Tuesday’s debate.
“It’s fast, there’s music, it’s compelling and rich with emotion, and that was our plan. That’s what we’ll usually do,” he said. “But it turns out, in this moment, that’s just the noise. You’ve heard it, and we need to cut through it.”
He said he would endeavor to use his broadcast to draw distinctions between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on issues like COVID-19, the economy, racial injustice, social unrest, governance, and education “as best we can, based on what last night’s event offered up.”
“But let’s mark this moment,” he said. “Last night, the president called into question the heart of our democracy: the peaceful transition of power. Is there assurance that it’ll happen? Asked to give it, the president declined, and openly sowed the seeds of distrust in the outcome.”
“In the debate, the president told a group of white supremacists — some of whom stood by those in Charlottesville with their torches — to ‘stand back and stand by.’ Joe Biden declared the duly elected president of the United States unfit to lead, called him a ‘racist,’ a ‘liar,’ a ‘clown,’ and told him to shut up. We’ve never seen any of this. Not in America. But from this, we march toward the vote.”
Smith left Fox News last October after more than two decades there, shocking viewers and even some of his close colleagues when he announced his departure on air. It came after a period of reportedly high tensions between the network’s news and opinion divisions, and on-air feuding between Smith and opinion host Tucker Carlson during coverage of Trump’s impeachment proceedings.
Watch Smith’s debut CNBC newscast below.