A shock was in store for Friday afternoon viewers of the Fox News Channel: Longtime newsman Shepard Smith announced at the end of his afternoon program that he was stepping down from the network.
The network itself also announced the news in a statement on Friday.
“The opportunities afforded this guy from small-town Mississippi have been many,” Smith said to viewers after pausing to share “a personal moment.” He also said, “Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter.”
“After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged … 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,” he said.
“I’ve worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I’ve ever known. They sacrifice endlessly and tirelessly … and I’m honored to have anchored their work each day — I will deeply miss them.”
He’d spent 23 years at Fox News.
Under “our agreement,” he said, “I won’t be reporting elsewhere, at least in the near future … This is my last newscast here.”
“It’s been an honor and my pleasure. Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, and that journalism and journalists will thrive.”
“Shep is one of the premier newscasters of his generation and his extraordinary body of work is among the finest journalism in the industry,” said Jay Wallace, president and executive editor of Fox News Media, in a statement shared with news outlets.
“His integrity and outstanding reporting from the field helped put Fox News on the map and there is simply no better breaking news anchor who has the ability to transport a viewer to a place of conflict, tragedy, despair or elation through his masterful delivery.”
Here are some of the strongest reactions we’ve seen thus far from online readers to Smith’s news on Friday.
1.) “Great news! Break out the wine.”
2.) “Don’t know why they are acting like this is a great tragedy … I am glad he is gone. I dread to see who they will replace him with and hope it’s not someone worse.”
3.) “There wasn’t anything ‘fair and balanced’ about him.”
4.) “Best news I’ve heard all day. Sad part is they will probably give Juan Williams or some other liberal his time slot. Ugh.”
5.) “I wish Shep well. He has been a good personality and journalist for Fox. But in the past couple of years he’s allowed his own personal, snarky viewpoint to overcome his responsibilities as a neutral journalist.”
6.) “Not surprised. Never watched him, as I didn’t care for his on-air style. Plus his vehement hatred of President Trump was really unprofessional. I suspect that he was actually given two choices, resign or be fired.”
7.) “I stopped watching anything with Shep during the Hurricane Katrina coverage. He was biased and opinionated already then. Doesn’t sound like he got any better.”
8.) “Shep Smith is the reason I now watch NewsmaxTV.”
9.) “I couldn’t be happier. When he came on, I turned the channel. Just because he’s been there a long time doesn’t make him a great newscaster. He’s anti-Trump and it shows. Good riddance! Hope Chris Wallace leaves, too.”
10.) “During a natural disaster, there was no one better. But I just could not watch his show. Too biased and slanted. He lost his balance and it was glaring. His [slips in the] ratings speak for themselves. CNN might pull out of their dismal ratings if they can afford Shep.”
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