Shepard Smith derided the journalistic rigor of Fox News opinion programming in an interview with Time magazine, arguing that Fox employees “on the opinion side” can “say whatever they want” because they’re expressing their opinions and not facts.
His comments were a not-so-veiled dig at Fox personalities like Sean Hannity, who criticized Smith, the host of “Shepard Smith Reporting,” as “so anti-Trump” last year. Smith fired back then that “sometimes facts are displeasing; journalists report them without fear or favor.”
“We serve different masters. We work for different reporting chains, we have different rules,” Smith told Time in a profile of him published on Thursday. “They don’t really have rules on the opinion side. They can say whatever they want. I don’t really watch a lot of opinion programming; I’m busy.”
He added: “Some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining. I get that. I don’t work there. I wouldn’t work there. I don’t want to sit around and yell at each other and talk about your philosophy and my philosophy.”
“I don’t really watch a lot of opinion programming; I’m busy.”
Smith and Hannity offer dramatically different perspectives on just about everything. Earlier this month, Hannity praised President Donald Trump in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that killed 17 people. Smith reported that while Trump had vowed to survivors that he’d “go strong” on gun control, he quickly backpedaled after he met with representatives of the National Rifle Association.
Smith told Time that he plans to continue to stick to the facts, and said that can often anger conservative Fox viewers. He aims to present news and information “so that you can make decisions about your life and your family” — not to confirm viewers’ worldviews, he stated.
His work can be demanding, Smith said, but his personal life affords him relief. “I have a longtime boyfriend and we’re as happy as we can be,” he told Time. In a speech last spring at his alma mater, the University of Mississippi, Smith said, “I cover the news. I deal with holy hell around me. I go home to the man I’m in love with.”
As for the rest, he says, “I just wish everyone weren’t so angry about it all. I wish that we could have lighter moments and not always be on guard with each other.”
Smith joined Fox in 1996 when the network was founded. Fox announced Thursday that the company has signed Smith to a new multi-year contract as chief news anchor and managing editor of breaking news, but did not reveal the terms of the agreement.
“Shepard Smith is an exemplary journalist whose skill in anchoring breaking news is unrivaled,” Fox News’ executive chairman, Rupert Murdoch, said in a statement.
Read the complete Time magazine profile of Shepard Smith here.