Fox News‘ Shepard Smith received a little jab from the White House to go along with his pre-SOTU luncheon. Smith and other Fox News reporters were supposed to receive a place card saying “Fox News,” instead they got an insulting omission. It may have been an honest mistake, but Shep refused to let it go without a brief report on the subject.
Shepard Smith explained it well.
“I sat next to Brian Williams, and we all have these place cards and his said, ‘Brian Williams, NBC News.’ And across from me was David Muir, the new guy on ABC. It said, ‘David Muir, ABC News.’ And then, over next to the president, was Scott Pelley, and it said, ‘Scott Pelley, ABC News.”
Sounds fine so far.
“And I looked at mine, and it doesn’t say anything about news. It just says, ‘Fox.’ And I looked at Bret Baier’s and it said, ‘Bret Baier, Fox.’ But all the rest of them got ‘news.’ I mean, I don’t care — lunch was great.”
Smith tried to keep his response classy, but conservative pundits and websites were in an uproar. Townhall.com called it an “incredibly petty move,” the Daily Caller said it was “passive-aggressive,” and Tammy Bruce panned the move as “immature.”
It might all be an innocent mistake, but the White House has taken swipes at Fox News before.
In 2009, the administration tried to prevent Fox News from interviewing Kenneth Feinberg, the Special Master for TARP Executive Compensation popularly called the “Pay Czar.”
A week before the attempt to limit Feinberg’s availability, White House senior adviser David Axelrod told ABC News that Fox News was not a real news organization, and other networks shouldn’t treat it as one.
But the journalistic community didn’t respond like the administration had hoped, especially the network pool. The network pool is a group of major news outlets, including Fox, that share the costs of covering the White House in exchange for equal access to the information. The network pool announced that if Fox News couldn’t interview Feinberg, no one would.
Whether the pre-SOTU luncheon incident was another, more passive attack on Fox News‘ legitimacy isn’t clear.
Still, Shepard Smith defended his own reputation as a journalist, adding onto the end of his report, “I guess there’s a message received, but I think Bret and I are good to go with the news part, and I think you know that too.”
The Fox News reporter then flipped a peace sign and checked out.
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