After more than 23 years with Fox News, chief news anchor Shepard Smith closed his telecast today with the news it would be his last at Fox.
Saying he was “eternally grateful” to Fox News for the opportunities it has afforded him, he told his audience, “This is my last newscast here.”
“Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter,” Smith said. “After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged.”
“The opportunities afforded this guy from small-town Mississippi have been many,” he continued. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor.”
“I’ve worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I know and I’m proud to have anchored their work each day — I will deeply miss them.”
Smith seemed to reference tensions between the opinion and news divisions at Fox News commenting that the news division has always “endeavored to deliver” the news “while speaking truth to power, without fear or favor, in context, and with perspective.”
In a nod to journalists, he said in closing, “Even in our current polarized nation, it is my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive.”
Hired by Fox News in 1996, Smith came out in 2017 making him the only openly gay host on the network. He has also been one of the few vocal critics of Donald Trump at the conservative cable news outlet.
Many on social media note that Smith’s announcement comes just two days after Trump’s Attorney General William Barr held a private meeting with Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch, according to a New York Times report. While there is no evidence connecting the Barr/Murdoch meeting to Smith’s sudden departure, some wondered why Barr would be meeting with the media mogul at a time when Trump has been openly critical of Fox News.
I wonder if this has anything to do with Bill Barr’s meeting with Rupert Murdoch two nights ago 🤔 He is the only good thing about Fox. Shepard Smith Leaving Fox News | Hollywood Reporter https://t.co/MWtGmMuzVB
— MomJovi (@MomJovi) October 11, 2019
So … Trump is mad about Fox News coverage … Barr meets with Murdoch … Shep is gone … K.
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) October 11, 2019
Trump is obsessed with Fox.
Trump starts slamming Fox.
Barr meets with Murdoch at his home.
Trump praises fox at rally
Shepherd Smith leaves -resigns? Forced out? -the next day.
suspicious. And unreal we have to consider if Trump is so TV obsessed this mightve happened.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) October 12, 2019