Most of the time, Shepard Smith is the sole voice of reason and intelligence at Fox News. Other times, though, like this morning, it feels like he's that plus some kind of much-needed national conscience.
As always, fuck yeah, Shep.
Sadly, Smith's truth telling is newsworthy because it comes from a network dedicated to doing the exact opposite.
It took no time at all for Fox News to put a predictable narrative to the pictures it was showing out of Baltimore. Shep Smith, however, wasn't having any of it.
It took all of maybe two days after arriving at my new job at KCBS in Los Angeles to experience my first car chase -- and it was one hell of a nasty one. It was February of '96 and I was training with the noon producer, a guy named Andy, and had spent the morning shadowing him, watching him meticulously build his show step-by-step. Everything was fine until about 20 minutes before air, when a single-word shout from the news-desk blew almost everything he'd done up until that second out of the water.
This afternoon, Shepard Smith stepped up to the plate and simply by virtue of his calm and authoritative demeanor, took a punishing swing at the often panic-stricken response by the media to Ebola.
Shep Smith, Fox News's one and only rational employee did a stupid thing yesterday in the wake of Robin Williams's suicide. Speaking on his show, Smith lamented the actor's untimely passing and wondered out loud whether Williams was a coward.
It will surprise no one to learn that Trotter and Gawker are doubling-down on their flawed report, cleverly admitting that they got certain facts wrong the first time around but that overall the story they told was true -- that "the story stands." This is where journalism is in the year 2014. You can do that, I guess. You can be called out and corrected by more than one source and still have the nerve to claim that at least you were right about everything you weren't wrong about, while expecting that people will keep right on reading you like nothing happened.
Over the past few days one of two things has happened: J.K. Trotter's latest piece attempting to out Shepard Smith has blown up in his face because it's littered with factual errors or Fox News's viciously effective PR machine has earned its keep for another week by circling the wagons, circulating contradictory information, and shutting down the journalistic traction his story was getting.
Fox News is going full-court-press on the response to Gawker's story, which is to say they're facing it head-on and denying it in the strongest possible terms. "This story is 100% false and a complete fabrication," say Roger Ailes and Shepard Smith himself in a joint statement. Shep, meanwhile, has shared with The Daily Banter the related e-mail he sent to his staff earlier today.
There is one thing that would, make Shepard Smith's sexual orientation fair game for the press, and that's if it could be proven that it has in some way impacted his status at Fox News. So lo and behold, what do we have today but Gawker claiming that it has it on good authority that Shep was "demoted" at Fox News because he wanted to publicly come out.
For some reason Gawker and JK Trotter in particular have made it their mission to officially "out" Shep or at least get him to confirm publicly what most people already know. But Shep doesn't have to do that, certainly not because J.K. Trotter demands it or thinks it's titillating and would make for good copy.
Another Monday is here and you know what that means: back to the grind, boys and girls. Here's a little something to distract you from the pain.
Gawker is a gossip and snark site, so mentioning a quick line about the sex of Shep's "date" as part of a general description maybe wasn't entirely out of line. But the fact that Gawker went the extra mile to really play up the physical aspect of Shep's interaction with someone who isn't a name and who therefore isn't newsworthy for any reason other than the fact that he's a man is undeniably tawdry.