Shepard Smith

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  • Fox News’ Reaction To Trump’s Birtherism Was Predictably Terrible

    MSNBC And CNN Debunked Trump’s Lies, Explained How Trump Mainstreamed Birtherism, And Condemned His Manipulation Of The Press

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Fox News championed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s latest statement that he believes “President Obama was born in the U.S.” as “political media genius” while CNN and MSNBC noted that Trump’s latest statement follows years of mainstreaming racist birther conspiracy theories, debunked the candidate’s attempt to blame the birther lies on Hillary Clinton, and decried his manipulation of the press.

    After Donald Trump in a September 15 interview with The Washington Post “refused to say whether he believes Obama was born in Hawaii,” the Trump campaign released a falsehood-laden statement saying “Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States,” and “was finally able to bring this ugly incident to its conclusion” in 2011.

    The next day Trump announced he’d deliver a “major statement” at his new Washington, D.C. hotel regarding whether he’d acknowledge Obama as an American. Reporters speculated that the Trump campaign’s strategy behind the much-anticipated September 16 event was to put to rest scrutiny about Trump’s years-long birther enthusiasm and to “remove the last vestiges of an issue Clinton campaign could attack on.”

    The major cable news networks provided wall-to-wall coverage of Trump’s event, in which his seconds-long statement that “President Obama was born in the United States” came at the very end of a lengthy campaign event featuring military members endorsing Trump, and it included the false claims that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton started the birther conspiracy and that he ended it. Immediately after the statement, anchors on CNN and MSNBC called the candidate out for manipulating the press and for pushing falsehoods. On CNN, Ashleigh Banfield slammed the stunt and excoriated Trump’s “birther crap.” John King on At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan acknowledged the media “got played,” debunked Trump’s false accusation against Clinton, and condemned Trump for the “four or five years of leading a fraudulent, reckless campaign against the legitimacy of the United States president.” MSNBC used an on-screen graphic to single out Trump’s lie that Clinton started the birther movement, and during The Place for Politics, host Peter Alexander pointed out that Trump continued to give oxygen to birtherism even after President Obama released his birth certificate, saying “it’s not like he put this thing to rest” in 2011.

    In contrast, Fox News dove head first into the trap set by the Trump campaign. Happening Now host Jenna Lee declared Trump gave “the media what everyone was waiting for, his definitive comments about the quote, unquote ‘birther issue.’” Lee’s co-host Gregg Jarrett commended Trump for being “very precise, and direct and disciplined.” Fox guest Glenn Hall, a Wall Street Journal editor who set the stage before the event by praising Trump for “pivoting” away from birtherism, added that Trump “handled that pretty well.”

    Later, an Outnumbered on-screen graphic drew false equivalences claiming that Trump and Clinton were “blam[ing] each other” on the matter. Co-host Melissa Francis opined “nobody cares about these issues” and raved that Trump’s stunt was “political media genius,” while co-host Harris Faulkner dismissed the racist nature of birtherism by questioning “why is it racist” to question legitimacy “with Barack Obama and not with Ted Cruz?”:

    And on Shepard Smith Reporting, Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday who was tapped to moderate the third presidential debate, said that unlike with some of his other outrageous incidents, “This one, in less than 24 hours, he cut it off.” Wallace’s determination that Trump’s statement shut the door on the birther issue flatly omitted any mention of Trump’s years of leading the charge in promoting such conspiracy theories.

    By declaring that Trump can put years of birtherism to rest by just saying he believes Obama is American, Fox News comes full circle. The network enthusiastically echoed Trump’s years-long, racist crusade to raise doubts about President Obama’s legitimacy, and provided Trump with a friendly platform to promote his birther beliefs. The press cannot allow the Trump campaign to play revisionist history with its candidate’s embrace of birtherism despite his intentions to put it behind him before the presidential debates.

  • Fox’s Shepard Smith Rips Journalists Who Refuse To Fact-Check Trump, Days After Chris Wallace Says He Won’t “Truth Squad” Candidates In Debate

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox host Shepard Smith criticized the idea that some media figures refuse to fact-check Donald Trump’s lies, a statement that stands in contrast to his Fox colleague Chris Wallace who said that it isn’t his job to be a “truth squad” while moderating candidates during the presidential debates.

    During an interview about his selection as a debate moderator on September 4, Chris Wallace argued that “I do not believe it is my job to be a truth squad” on presidential candidates, “it’s up to the other person to catch them on that.”

    In a discussion of NBC anchor Matt Lauer’s performance as moderator of a September 7 presidential forum, Smith argued that the idea of the media refusing to fact-check lies told by candidates is a “dereliction of duty.” Smith added that the media hasn’t aggressively been fact-checking Trump out of fear “he’ll rip you to shreds”:

    SHEPARD SMITH (HOST): Did it seem to you anybody -- any of the three of them were ready for last night?

    JOHN BUSSEY: Yeah, it was a shaky -- it was a shaky business, and --

    SMITH: Critics are eviscerating --

    BUSSEY: Yes, that's right, and Matt Lauer is getting critiqued for not fact-checking Trump more in his comments. And I think what you did earlier in the broadcast is kind of a reflection of the need to continue to do that. Trump's comments that he was against the war --

    SMITH: When he says things that aren't true and the media does not call him out, that's derelict -- dereliction of duty.

    [...]

    BUSSEY: You will see with Gary Johnson, Clinton, and Trump, the media has to be -- continue to be very aggressive on the fact-checking.

    SMITH: And yet it has not been. It seems -- it's almost as if people are scared to fact check him, because we know the wrath that comes from him when you fact check. If you correct him using the facts, he'll rip you to shreds.

    BUSSEY: Well, I think that the media is getting better at this.

    SMITH: Well, it better get better.

  • CNN Explores Implications Of Carlson Sexual Harassment Suit, Fox Merely Repeats Ailes' Own Defense (Again)

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Cable news giants Fox News and CNN displayed markedly different approaches to the bombshell allegations of sexual harassment brought by former Fox host Gretchen Carlson against Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. While CNN began investigating the claims made by Carlson and other women previously employed by Fox, the network itself simply reiterated Ailes’ own self-defense before launching a predictable campaign to discredit his accusers.

    On July 6, Carlson announced a “sexual harassment/retaliation lawsuit” against Ailes. Carlson claims that Ailes refused to renew her contract after she rebuffed multiple unwanted sexual advances from him over several years. Ailes is notorious for his sexist behavior and vulgar treatment of women at the network, and six more current and former Fox employees have reportedly contacted Carlson’s law firm alleging they were also sexually harassed by Ailes.

    On July 10, CNN’s Reliable Sources devoted the first half of the hour-long program to discussing the lawsuit and its implications for the future of Ailes and Fox News. Host Brian Stelter interviewed New York magazine correspondent Gabriel Sherman, author of the 2014 Fox exposé The Loudest Voice In The Room, about harassment allegations he uncovered while researching for his book, as well as the veracity of six new allegations against Ailes, which Sherman contended “fit a pattern of behavior” from the Fox News chief. Sherman also predicted that “Fox News’ PR machine” will work to “discredit” Carlson and any other accusers for Ailes, as they have in the past.

    Stelter also hosted NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik to discuss how News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, are responding to the allegations against Ailes “a little differently” than they have with prior harassment claims against Fox personalities. Folkenflik noted that the Murdochs “have not denied reports that they are hiring outside counsel” to handle the suit, as opposed to past cases involving Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and New York Post editor-in-chief Col Allan, where “they did not appoint an outside counsel” to deal with the complaints. Folkenflik concluded that this move may be tied to “the Murdoch sons' desire for their company to be truly a 21st century company, as opposed to run with the mores of the Don Draper era.”

    Meanwhile, on Fox News’ MediaBuzz, host Howard Kurtz mentioned his former colleague’s lawsuit in a brief, three-minute segment devoted to defending Ailes and attacking Carlson. Kurtz simply read Ailes’ personal statement in response to the lawsuit (as Fox News anchor Shepard Smith already had three days prior), mentioned that Ailes tried to move the suit into internal arbitration, and attacked Gretchen Carlson’s ratings as the real excuse for her termination. Kurtz pointedly refused to cover the story beyond that, dismissing other outlets’ coverage as simply “quoting anonymous sources” in a veiled shot at CNN and New York magazine. 

    Kurtz was the first Fox News reporter to come to Ailes’ defense against the harassment allegations made by Carlson. In the past, Kurtz has attacked Hillary Clinton for acknowledging media treatment that was “petty, sensationalist, often unfair and sometimes mean,” and he defended Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) when the then presidential candidate mocked and shushed CNBC’s Kelly Evans during a critical line of questioning in which he told her to “calm down.” In addition to his long track record of excusing sexist and bullying behavior toward women in the media, Kurtz has his own history of boorish behavior toward women.

  • Fox's Shep Smith Denounces "Factually Wrong" Reports That "Turned Up" Anti-Black Lives Matter Rhetoric

    Fox News And Conservative Media Trumpeted False Story To Push "War On Cops" Narrative

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Shep

    Fox News host Shepard Smith derided "factually wrong" reporting that was used to turn up negative rhetoric against the Black Lives Matter movement, much of the reporting was perpetuated by conservative media and Fox News.

    After months of investigation following the suspicious September 1 death of Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz in Fox Lake, Illinois, investigators determined his death was a "carefully staged suicide."

    However, not having all the facts didn't stop conservative media from attempting to build a pattern that would support their "war on cops" narrative and demonize the Black Lives Matter movement.

    Gliniewicz's death was used by conservative media to trumpet their "war on cops" narrative and demonize the Black Lives Matter movement. According to MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Fox News even "trotted out a string of law enforcement officials" to lend credibility to the "so-called phenomena." On the November 5 edition of his show, Fox's Shep Smith admitted that some in the media falsely connected the story to the Black Lives Matter movement, contributing to turning "up the rhetoric" when it was "factually wrong."

    From the November 5 edition of Fox's Shepard Smith Reporting:

    SHEP SMITH: And think of the narrative that came out of that from so many, many places, about-- "it's the fault of the Black Lives Matter movementand all of this stuff that was just-- it really turned up the rhetoric and it really was factually wrong.

    DAN SCHORR: Right, and one of the lessons of this story is you have to really sift through all the information and wait for it to come in and not jump to big conclusions and make giant conclusions based on a little bit of information. You have to find out all the facts first.

    SMITH: Don't get ahead of the news.

    SCHORR: Right.

    SMITH: It will run you over.

    Previously:

    MSNBC's Chris Hayes Highlights Conservative Media's Irresponsible Coverage Of Fox Lake Police Officer's Death

    Fox Figures Demand Obama Make Remarks Condemning Violence Against Police Days After He Did Just That

    Experts Continue To Debunk Right-Wing Media's "Ferguson Effect" Myth