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.