Shepard Smith, whose Fox News news seemed increasingly atypical in a chain dominated by followers of President Donald Trump, resigned abruptly on Friday after the last edition of his show. The presenter, 55, had signed an extension of his contract last year, but asked to be allowed to break the agreement and the authorities accepted.
"Now, a personal moment," he said at the beginning of the announcement that surprised viewers and colleagues alike. "Collecting and reporting the news has been the work of my life. It was 33 years, the last 23 here, since we launched the channel Fox News in 1996. ”After saying that he would not continue on the news, he clarified:“ I will not be reporting anywhere else, at least in the near future. ”
To end his farewell, he left a message with high political content. "Even in our nation now polarized, it is my desire that the facts end up being imposed, that the truth always matters, that journalism and journalists prosper."RELATED
Trump has increasingly criticized the Fox News personalities he considers too critical of his government. On Thursday, he quoted Smith and chain analysts Andrew Napolitano and Donna Brazile in a tweet. “Fox News no longer serves the United States. It's so different from what it used to be, ”he wrote.
Later, when asked about the resignation of the journalist, the president responded with irony. "It goes? Oh that's a pity. Is he leaving because he had little audience?
Smith's program averaged almost 1.3 million viewers in the last three months, the Nielsen company said. That beats CNN and MSNBC. Fox's programming in prime time, with more viewers available, usually has around 3 million.
Neil Cavuto, the host of the broadcast that follows Smith's, was shocked after listening to his colleague. "Wow," Cavuto said. "I'm a little stunned."
Smith was one of Fox News's first hires in 1996, and was a favorite of Roger Ailes, the former Fox president who was expelled in 2016 on charges of misconduct and died the following year. Although it often angered many of the conservative spectators, Smith's work was usually cited by the chain when they criticized it for being too partial.
Two weeks ago, Smith had a confrontation with Tucker Carlson, one of the main Fox News commentators. Carlson said that Neapolitan was a fool to say in the Smith news that Trump had committed a crime in the affair Ukraine. The next day, Smith responded in harsh terms: "Attacking our colleague who is here to offer legal opinions, in our air, in our workplace, is disgusting."