An all-out civil war appears to be underway at Fox News with those who work for the news division during the day and those who deliver opinions during prime time programming.
Shepard Smith, 54, who has been with the Fox News Channel since it was first launched in 1996, has come under fire from some Fox News faithful in recent months for his willingness to veer from the pro-Trump agenda of the evening opinion-driven programs of Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.
While Smith’s afternoon news program has covered the problems facing the Trump administration, the evening programs have continued to lead with criticisms of the FBI and attacks on defeated Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Smith addressed the difference in the programs in an interview with Time Magazine, indicating the opinion programs play by a different set of guidelines.
“They don’t really have rules on the opinion side. They can say whatever they want.”
Hannity challenged the idea that he and fellow night time hosts Ingraham and Tucker Carlson do not have to stick to the facts. While he described Smith as a friend, he did not agree with his statement.
Hannity tweeted that Smith was “clueless” and has no idea what he does to prepare for his program.
Veteran newsman Geraldo Rivera, a fixture on Hannity’s show, agreed with Hannity’s assessment.
Rivera praised Smith’s ability to handle breaking news, but said his Fox News colleague was wrong about the news value of Hannity’s program, tweeting that not only was Hannity the “most powerful political conservative,” but he has also developed into one of the nation’s most effective journalists.
No story spelled out the difference between what Fox News viewers see with Smith in the afternoon and from Hannity in the evening than the Uranium One story, which alleged that Hillary Clinton arranged for a major uranium provider to be sold to Russia in exchange for contributions to the Clinton Foundation.
While Hannity has shown flow charts that paint Uranium One as the only provable example of Americans colluding with Russians (he, Ingraham, and Carlson have consistently derided Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia), Smith, in a video that went viral, notably debunked the Uranium One scandal with an explanation of the case that indicated that not only was Clinton not responsible for the sale, but that safeguards were also in place to keep any uranium from going to Russia.
The feud does not to appear to be sending anyone at Fox News looking for another job.
Hannity, Ingraham, and Carlson are firmly locked into contracts for their prime time programs and, as of Thursday, so is Smith.
USA Today reported Fox News’ announcement that Smith has signed a multi-year contract to stay with the network.
Fox News Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch praised Smith as an “exemplary journalist whose skill in anchoring breaking news is unrivaled.
“His powerful storytelling on both television and digital platforms has elevated our entire newsgathering process.”
The news of Smith’s extension did not sit well with some Fox News viewers who have been urging the network to rid itself of Smith because he does not follow the prime time pro-Trump template.
The Bradford File Twitter account, with more than 82,000 followers, made no secret of how it felt about Smith.
“I just threw up. @FoxNews rewards the most despised man on television, Shepard Smith, with a contract extension.”
Retired teacher Nelly Vega Sorenson tweeted her means of protesting Smith’s contract extension.
“I will at least TURN FOX OFF WHEN HE’S ON,,, he’s a poison and an embarrassment to FOX NEWS,,,”