CNBC anchor Shepard Smith has offered his harshest rebuke yet of his former employer Fox News, calling out some of its hosts for spreading lies that have damaged the nation.
“I don’t know how some people sleep at night,” Smith said in an interview with Christiane Amanpour of PBS News that aired Tuesday night. “I know that there are a lot of people who have propagated the lies and have pushed them forward over and over again, who are smart enough and educated enough to know better.”
The veteran newsman worked at the conservative network for 23 years. He was a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and his conspiracy theories, and in the months leading up to his abrupt departure in late 2019, he clashed with members of the network’s commentary division, most notably Tucker Carlson.
“I hope that at some point, those that have done us harm as a nation, and I might even add as a world, will look around and realize what they’ve done,” Smith said. “But I’m not holding my breath.”
Earlier in the interview, Smith said some of his former colleagues in the news division worked hard to deliver factual and unbiased information, and he stood by the work they did.
“I thought it was important that I stay there because I knew that I was grounded in that philosophy,” he said. “And if you feel like the Fox viewers were getting mis- or disinformation, I was there to make sure that they got it straight.”
Smith said he felt a responsibility not to deprive the network’s viewers of that perspective and was concerned the network might replace that prime-time news segment with opinion instead.
His concerns weren’t unwarranted. Fox News announced this month that as part of an expansion of its opinion programming, anchor Martha MacCallum will be bumped from the 7 p.m. news hour ― Smith’s former slot ― to make way for a rotating roster of commentators.
Fox News’ prime-time opinion hosts, including Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, have amplified and added to disinformation spread by Trump throughout his presidency, including lies about the presidential election and COVID-19, both of which ultimately contributed to deaths: in the Capitol riot and from a mishandled pandemic.
Smith started on CNBC in October with his new program, “The News With Shepard Smith.”
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