Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story referred to a tweet from NBC’s Jo Ling Kent. That tweet has since been deleted, with Kent offering a correction via Twitter.
In the midst of an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, U.S. Attorney General William Barr reportedly met privately with billionaire media tycoon Rupert Murdoch at his home on Wednesday evening. The alleged secret meeting was first covered by The New York Times, which also noted that the subjects discussed between Barr and Murdoch — who is the chair of Fox News parent company News Corp — remain unclear, and it is likewise uncertain whether anyone else joined the two in the meeting.
As The Inquisitr reported on Friday, Fox News chief anchor Shepard Smith suddenly announced his resignation less than 48 hours after the alleged meeting between Barr and Murdoch. Smith was one of the conservative cable channel’s longest-tenured on-air personalities, first joining the network at its founding in 1996.
But Smith was long known “to report the news honestly, even when it conflicted with the conspiracy theories and lies of Fox’s prime-time hosts,” in the words of a Media Matters report on his departure from the network.
Smith’s straightforward approach to the news, and unhesitating willingness to contradict his fellow Fox News personalities, led him to recently feud with the channel’s nighttime host Tucker Carlson, who is also reportedly an unofficial adviser to Trump. This made Smith the target of ire from the president himself, who has tweeted insults at Smith on several occasions.
An earlier report by Jo Ling Kent of NBC News, via her Twitter account, said that Smith had been “escorted” from the Fox News building in New York by security personnel, according to Kent’s sources. But in response to a statement by Fox News disputing her report, Kent deleted her original tweet, posting a second Twitter report stating that, “a Fox News spokesperson says it was not correct,” and that Smith’s departure was “planned and executed” by Smith himself.
I've deleted my earlier tweet, which is below for the record. A Fox News spokesperson says it was not correct: “Shep’s exit from the building was planned and executed by Shep with Fox’s complete approval and the full support of FOX News – he was not remotely escorted out.” pic.twitter.com/YbLyfreFwX
— Jo Ling Kent (@jolingkent) October 11, 2019
The impeachment inquiry into Trump’s apparent suggestion that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky investigate Democratic presidential hopeful and former vice president Joe Biden has created what Media Matters described as a “new urgency in the conflict between Fox‘s ‘news’ and ‘opinion’ divisions, one that centered around Smith.”
On Thursday, Trump lashed out at Fox News over a new poll sponsored by the network, one that showed a majority of Americans supporting his impeachment and removal from office. In his tweet, Trump named Smith as one of the Fox personalities who had made the network “much different than it used to be in the good old days,” even though Smith was part of operations for the network’s entire existence, until Friday.