When Shepard Smith resigned from the Fox News Channel last week, it felt like a death in the family, the family of would be fair and balanced altruistic journalists. Edward R. Murrow comes to mind. Sheps’ departure felt personal to many of us who grew up in the business at a time when journalistic integrity was a thing. Back then, the people in the business were driven to give you stories that were real, not myths. Every
day at 3pm EST on that Fox News Network, Shep Smith thankfully, brought those times back. He was a newsman in every sense of that word.
Judy Licht and I both worked in local news at channel 5 in New York City back in the day when you could NOT put a story on the air unless you had both sides of the issue. All the facts had to be verified before it ever hit the airwaves. Shep carried the vestiges of those days like a torch lighting the way in an otherwise partisan ultra conservative news environment that is Fox News. He kept the facts alive as one of the lone voices of reason at a news shop sometime referred to as “State Run TV.” I can only imagine what it was like for Shep to walk through the halls of the News Corp building to be shunned by certain co-workers whose’ political views were probably counter to his own. No one wants a family feud in the workplace on or off the air. It’s hard enough to go to work and try to stay focused on the news events of the day. Anyone who has been in the business can tell you when you become the “other than” or the ‘odd man out,” your days in that newsroom are usually numbered. Sadly it had to happen to this carrier of the truth in
To be fair, Sheps’ resignation, supposedly, had been in the works for weeks. Then the story came out that the US attorney general, Bill Barr, had paid a secret visit to Shep’s boss, Rupert Murdoch. The day after that meeting, Shep was out. There are many ways to interpret what happened to Shepard Smith. Some say he was no longer a part of his company’s brand. Some believe his voice was speaking truth to power and began to split the Fox news audience’s interpretations of what the news was.
Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message.” What does ‘this’ message send to the rest of us journalists who just want Tv to go back to the days of truth without opinion, just the facts PLEASE!
Shep wherever you go next, we know your voice of reason will be heard. Just hoping it is appreciated as much as it is now to those of us who are hoping real Journalism is NOT dead.
by Lynne White