On Fox News, Shepard Smith stands out like a sore thumb. While virtually everyone else on the network provides favorable coverage of President Donald Trump, Smith is much harder on him. He frequently criticizes the president and refutes the talking points of his own network, often causing viewers to grow angry and tweet their displeasure. In the latest example, some Trump supporters are calling for the network to fire him.
So why is it that Fox viewers dislike Shep Smith so much? And why are some calling for him to be fired now? Here’s what you need to know.
1. He said the Trump administration is lying about Russia
The majority of those on Fox agree that accusations of Trump colluding with Russia are fake news. But Smith isn’t buying it.
In July 2017, he went off on a rant and repeatedly accused the Trump administration of lying about the Russia investigation. Smith said:
If there’s nothing there — and that’s what they tell us. They tell us there’s nothing to this and nothing came of it, there’s a nothingburger, it wasn’t even memorable, didn’t write it down, didn’t tell you about it, because it wasn’t anything so I didn’t even remember it, with a Russian interpreter in the room at Trump Tower. If all of that, why all these lies? Why is it lie after lie after lie? … The deception, Chris, is mind-boggling. And there are still people who are out there who believe we’re making it up. And one day they’re gonna realize we’re not and look around and go, “Where are we, and why are we getting told all these lies?”
Of course, Smith is talking about the majority of Fox News’ audience there, and so many of them weren’t too thrilled with this.
Next: Smith continues laying into the Trump administration regarding Russia.
2. He suggested that the Trump administration was giving the appearance of a cover-up
In April, it was reported that Michael Flynn may have violated the law by not disclosing payments from Russia. While reporting this, Smith suggested that the White House needed to be more transparent and that they’re giving the appearance of a cover-up.
At the core of all of this is, the Russians interfered with our election. General Flynn received money through an entity that was from the Russians. And what they want to know is, “Was there collusion?” The White House at least is giving the appearance, according to these Congress leaders, of a lack of cooperation, which could give an overall appearance that they’re trying to cover something up. Why not quit with all the semantic juggling and stuff and get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible?
Next: Smith criticizes Trump, and his own network, during the NFL “take a knee” controversy.
3. He disputed Trump’s characterization of the NFL protests
When NFL players began kneeling during the national anthem this year, Trump fired back and said they were disrespecting America. The idea that the players were protesting the national anthem itself became the way Fox News talked about this story.
But Smith chimed in and disagreed both with Trump and with his own network. He said that the protests have nothing to do with the national anthem and that all of Fox News is complicit in pushing a false narrative. Smith also suggested Trump supporters themselves were being disingenuous. He said:
It’s very clear that for his base, this is the red meat of all red meat, because they’re able to reframe this. They’re able to say, “Oh, they’re attacking the national anthem, they’re attacking the troops, they’re attacking the flag.” None of which they’re doing. They’re not doing any of that. They’re upset about racial injustice in the country and they’re upset about the things that the president has said. And yet he’s able to turn it around for his base. Isn’t this all a play to his base? And could it possibly be so that they don’t notice there is no health care and North Korea is the biggest mess since the Cold War?
Smith went on to say that “They’re not protesting the national anthem. That’s not what they’re doing. And we’re complicit.”
Next: Fox News reports something that Trump supporters like, but Smith immediately discredits it.
4. He pushed back against the idea that Obama wiretapped Trump
Back in March, Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano reported on the air that President Obama “went outside the chain of command” and ordered a wiretap of Trump during the election.
This immediately caused Trump supporters to rejoice. After all, the president had previously claimed that Obama wiretapped him without presenting evidence. But almost immediately, Smith threw cold water on this story and said there’s no evidence to support it.
“Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary,” Smith said later that week. “Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time, in any way. Full stop.”
Next: Smith disagrees with many Fox News viewers and with Donald Trump on one key issue.
5. He said that climate change is real and that human activity contributes to it
A lot of Fox News viewers are of the belief that climate change is a hoax. Alternatively, even if it’s real, they think that human activity doesn’t necessarily cause it. But Smith sides with the scientific consensus.
He said so in June 2017, right before Trump gave a speech withdrawing the U.S. from a climate agreement. Smith remarked:
Climate change is real and our activities do contribute to it. As The New York Times reports today, scientific studies show if the world’s carbon emissions continue unchecked, atmospheric temperatures will continue to rise. The planet will not just be hotter, but it will also suffer from rising sea levels, more powerful storms, droughts that lead to food shortages and other extreme conditions.
Smith previously acknowledged climate change is real. He also did so back in 2014, which prompted Jon Stewart to joke, “You know this is serious if someone on Fox News just said climate change is real. I believe that is a sign of the apocalypse.”
Next: Smith passionately defends something that Trump and his supporters really hate.
6. He frequently defends CNN and says they are not fake news
If you ask Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson, nothing CNN reports should be trusted or taken seriously. But Smith is one of the few Fox anchors who repeatedly defends CNN even as President Trump dismisses the network.
Back in January 2017, when Trump declared CNN “fake news” following a report on Russia, Smith said that “it is our observation that its correspondents followed journalistic standards and that neither they nor any other journalists should be subjected to belittling and delegitimizing by the president-elect of the United States.”
The following month, Smith defended CNN again. He said, “Fake news is made up nonsense delivered for financial gain. CNN’s reporting was not fake news. Its journalists followed the same standards to which other news organizations, including Fox News, adhere.”
Next: Smith slams Trump for making false statements.
7. He said Trump is constantly saying ridiculous and false things
While defending CNN, Smith also once declared that Trump is constantly saying ridiculous, untrue things. This came after a press conference in which Trump specifically called out CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Smith said on his show after the press conference:
It’s crazy what we’re watching every day. It’s absolutely crazy. He keeps repeating ridiculous throwaway lines that are not true at all. And sort of avoiding this issue of Russia as if we’re some kind of fools for asking the question. Really? Your opposition was hacked, and the Russians were responsible for it, and your people were on the phone with Russia the same day it’s happening and we’re fools asking questions? No, sir. We are not fools for asking those questions, and we demand to know the answer to this question.
Next: Smith takes a different view on dealing with terrorism than many Trump supporters.
8. He said the U.S. should not stop taking in refugees after a terrorist attack
Back in 2015, in the wake of the terrorist attack in Paris, Smith delivered a monologue in which he said that not taking in refugees is against the principle of the United States. Smith said:
In the face of terror, will we panic or be calm and deliberative in approach? Confronted with those who want to change our way of life, will we abandon our freedoms and the rights granted to us by the creator, or will we welcome huddled masses yearning to breathe free? Will we take extreme measures to fundamentally alter who and what we are? Our shining city on a hill is vulnerable. We’ve always known that. If we change it to accommodate the savages, have they won? And what then would be left to protect?
A few weeks later, Trump pledged to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.
Next: This most recent segment caused Fox News viewers to call for Smith’s firing.
9. He debunked a popular conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton
Over the past few weeks, a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton has been gaining more traction. It involves the claim that she approved the sale of a mining company to Russian interests in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation. Fox News anchors, like Sean Hannity, have pushed those allegations.
But on Nov. 14, Smith spent a full six minutes debunking the story. Smith explained:
The Clinton State Department had no power to veto or approve that transaction. It could do neither … The accusation is predicated on the charge that Secretary Clinton approved the sale. She did not. A committee of nine evaluated the sale. The president approved the sale. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and others, had to offer permits, and none of the uranium was exported for use by the U.S. to Russia.
After this segment aired, many Fox News viewers called for the network to fire Smith. The conservative website Breitbart ran the headline “Fox News Viewers Demand Shep Smith be Fired After Error-Filled Uranium One Report: ‘Send Him to CNN.'”
10. He said Trump ‘misrepresented the truth’ about his call with the Australian prime minister
Thank you to Prime Minister of Australia for telling the truth about our very civil conversation that FAKE NEWS media lied about. Very nice!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017
In August 2017, The Washington Post reported on a leaked transcript of a conversation between President Trump and Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull. In the transcript, Trump tells Turnbull that the conversation was very unpleasant and that he had a better time talking to Putin.
It had previously been reported by the media that Trump had an unpleasant conversation with Turnbull. At the time of those original reports, Trump declared this to be fake news. But after the transcripts leaked, Smith reiterated that this wasn’t fake news at all.
“The media did not lie. We reported the truth,” Smith said. “Then President Trump misrepresented the truth, and not for the first time.”
Next: Smith suggests that Trump’s campaign uses racist language to draw support.
11. He suggested Trump ‘trades in racism’
In August 2016, Smith suggested that Trump was using racism during his campaign. Smith had a guest on during his show who said that Trump “really trades in hyperbole.” Smith then asked, “He trades in racism, doesn’t he?”
The guest said that he would leave this up to the commentators to talk about. While Smith did not outright say that Trump is a racist, he certainly came pretty close with this conversation.
Next: Smith again refutes a statement made by Trump.
12. He refuted Trump’s statement that Belgium is a ‘horror show’
During the campaign, Trump declared that Brussels used to be a great city but is not anymore. He went as far as to call it a “horror show.” This, he suggested, was because Muslim immigrants are not assimilating.
But Smith offered a rebuttal, saying that Brussels is far from a horror show while reporting from there:
Brussels is not a horror show from our experience and not from those who we’ve met here. The streets are beautiful, the people are as lovely as they can be. We’ve enjoyed their company and they’ve treated us like guests in their own home. Brussels is a beautiful old European city and a wonderful place to visit. People here, at least, are upset that’s how it’s been characterized by the leading Republican for office in the United States. A horror show, it is not.
Next: Smith says Trump is not being honest about Russia’s role in the election.
13. He refuted Trump’s claims that Russia didn’t interfere in the election
Back in December 2016, President-elect Trump said that Russia’s interference in the election was fake news. After the CIA concluded that Russia did intervene, Trump asked why no one brought up the issue before he won.
Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2016
Unless you catch "hackers" in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking. Why wasn't this brought up before election?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2016
It was brought up before the election. Over and over and over again. U.S. officials absolutely did say before the election that Russian hackers stole emails from Democratic officials and gave them to the website WikiLeaks. But according to the Washington Post and The New York Times, the CIA has since determined it was all part of an effort to help Donald Trump … President-elect Trump says that hacking claims are all just sour grapes from Democrats, which is absolutely not true.
Next: Smith calls out Trump for sharing a bit of fake news of his own.
14. He criticized Trump for sharing a myth about a general shooting Muslims
Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
On numerous occasions, Trump has shared a story about a general who killed terrorists by shooting them with bullets dipped in pig’s blood. He brought this up on the campaign trail and again after a terrorist attack in Barcelona.
But there actually isn’t any evidence to suggest that this happened. And on Fox News, Smith pointed that out:
Of course, the problem with this is it isn’t true. So the president has said, “Watch what General Pershing did to try to discourage Musilm terrorists.” And the premise on which he’s speaking is false, by Snopes. It’s just not what happened. But there’s the presidential input for the day.
Next: Smith lays into Trump for one of his claims about Barack Obama.
15. He called out Trump for his history of questioning Obama’s citizenship
In September 2016, after years of questioning whether Obama is a U.S. citizen, Trump held a press conference blaming Clinton for starting the conspiracy theory and taking credit for putting the controversy to an end.
Smith hammered Trump, saying that he was backing down from his “birther ridiculousness” and saying that his claim that Clinton started it is not true. Smith explained:
There is no evidence to support the claim that Hillary Clinton or her team started the theory that President Obama wasn’t born in America. Zero, it never happened … She did not start the birther rumor. In fact, Hillary Clinton has attempted to point out that Donald Trump’s refusal to admit that President Obama was born in United States is a sign that the Republican nominee is not connected with black voters, which he isn’t. Of course, that’s because the birther issue, illegitimate by any issue as a definition, questioned the legitimacy of our nation’s first black president and gives fuel to the “he’s not one of us” lies. Reporters on hand presume this was Trump’s attempt to put the birther issue behind him. So far, that has not happened.
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