Shepard Smith | Media Matters for America

Shepard Smith

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  • How Fox News uses “news side” anchors like Shepard Smith to save its brand

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    President Donald Trump, Fox News’ most powerful viewer, wants his supporters to know that he doesn’t like network anchor Shepard Smith.

    On Sunday afternoon, Trump tweeted that Smith is Fox’s “lowest rated anchor” and “should be working” at CNN, the network the president frequently attacks for failing to provide the obsequious coverage he expects from the press. Trump regularly watches Fox’s programming and often praises other network figures, like Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro. His criticism of Smith stood out, spurring media coverage and praise for the Fox anchor from some journalists.

    The president’s comments marked the second time in a week that the contrast between Smith and his Fox colleagues had driven headlines. Receiving an award on Wednesday night, Smith said in his acceptance speech that the primary mission of journalism is to be “accurate and honest and thorough and fair.” “We must never manipulate or invent,” he added. “We must never knowingly deceive. Because to do so is a disservice to our audience and potentially injurious to our society.”

    Coming from another journalist, these words might have seemed like platitudes. But because Smith’s employer is a propagandistic misinformation factory, it was unsurprising that an observer like CNN’s Brian Stelter described the speech as a “subtweet” of the Fox stalwart’s “opinion side colleagues.”

    These two divergences from the Fox norm are not unusual for Smith. Unlike other Fox “news side” figures like Bret Baier, Smith has actually earned his reputation as a solid journalist, regularly pushing back against right-wing lies propagated elsewhere on the network and at times his colleagues. That makes it easy for some commentators to fall into the trap of thinking of Smith as Fox's "voice of reason,” the resistance inside Fox to the network’s depredations and chicanery.

    But Smith doesn’t have his job despite his deviations from the Fox line -- he is supremely valuable to the network because of them. Fox’s core business model depends on stoking the fears of its viewers to keep them coming back, but its public relations strategy relies on being able to point to people like Smith as evidence that the network isn’t purely a right-wing megaphone. Instead, the network brass argues, Fox simply has separate “news” and “opinion” divisions like other outlets.

    The result is a mutually beneficial relationship in which Fox showers Smith with wealth in return for priceless PR value. In 2007, the network signed Smith to a contract that reportedly paid him more than $7 million a year. At the time, that salary was greater than that of anyone at CNN and on par with those of broadcast network evening news anchors, who historically command bigger paydays.

    A New York Times write-up of his contract is filled with tropes familiar to present-day Fox observers: A Fox executive praises Smith for his focus on “hard news,” not opinion, and the Times reporter contrasts that approach with other network programming and highlights criticism Smith receives from the right because of his willingness to contradict conservative bromides.

    Smith has repeatedly renewed his contract at Fox since then (in 2013, he lost his 7 p.m. show and gained the role of breaking news anchor), most recently in 2018. The terms of that deal were not disclosed, but given how much he was being paid in 2007, it is likely that he’s drawing an eight-figure salary.

    That figure seems absurd for someone who anchors the 3 p.m. hour on a cable news network and whose show was drawing just 1.6 million viewers at the time he signed his latest contract. But Fox is getting much more than the host for a weekday afternoon block for its money. The news of Smith’s new contract brought glowing coverage highlighting Smith’s independence and burnishing the network’s brand, from, among others, Time magazine:

    As Fox has tacked further to the right in its opinion programming, Smith’s role has at times seemed like a challenge. Being the old-fashioned anchorman and reporter at a network known for new-fashioned provocation and opinion may be the hardest job at Fox News, and one Smith mused about walking away from over the course of two interviews this winter. On March 15, the network announced Smith would stay and that he had signed a multiyear contract renewal. Which means Smith is going to have many more chances to tell viewers what they don’t want to hear.

    Copy like this tells Time’s readers -- including reporters, advertisers, and other elites who may not come into contact with Fox on a regular basis -- exactly what Fox wants them to hear: that the network has a “news side” stocked with legitimate journalists trying to tell the audience the truth.

    What it ignores, however, is that Smith’s efforts to debunk misinformation found elsewhere on the network may break through as viral media stories, but they are buried at Fox itself under the weight of falsehoods and conspiracy theories from its higher-profile stars.

    When Trump lashes out at Smith, he is helping Fox make its case. When Smith appears to criticize his prime-time colleagues while accepting a journalism award, he is too. And Fox needs the help right now -- this week’s Smith stories came out against the backdrop of firestorms involving the bigoted comments of two different network stars and desperate efforts to keep advertisers from fleeing.

    Smith can keep using his 3 p.m. show to debunk the lies his network airs around the clock. He can call out the conservative hosts who receive bigger platforms and better time slots from Fox. He can tell reporters -- and even himself -- that the real reason he keeps signing Fox’s lucrative contracts is because he’s worried about what the network would replace him with.

    What Smith apparently can’t do is keep Fox from treating “accurate and honest and thorough and fair” journalism as anything more than a PR strategy.

  • Fox's "news" team is an essential cog in a corrupt propaganda machine

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    There will be no Fox News debate for this year’s Democratic presidential primary contest. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez closed the door to the right-wing network on Wednesday, telling The Washington Post that the party had rejected the network’s bid in light of the “inappropriate relationship” between Fox News and President Donald Trump that The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer documented in her damning new story. Perez’s statement brought a quick response from Bill Sammon, Fox News’ senior vice president and Washington managing editor, who urged the DNC to “reconsider its decision to bar Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, all of whom embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism,” from moderating a debate.

    Sammon’s comment is a well-worn talking point familiar to anyone who has followed the network’s public relations campaigns over the years. Fox executives and flaks are constantly telling reporters and advertisers alike that the network simply has separate “news” and “opinion” sides like any other news outlet. In their telling, it is unfair to hold the conspiracy theories and naked bigotry of Fox’s right-wing prime-time hosts against Wallace, Baier, MacCallum, Shep Smith, and the rest of the purportedly objective news team.

    But Mayer’s piece is more than a dissection of Fox’s merger with the Trump White House and emergence as a propaganda tool for his administration. It also helps underscore the farcical nature of the narrative that Sammon and his fellow Fox executives use in pushing back against the network’s detractors.

    “Fox’s defenders view such criticism as unfounded and politically biased,” Mayer writes, noting that in response to her inquiries, “Fox’s public-relations department offers numerous examples of its reporters and talk-show hosts challenging the Administration.”

    This argument was never credible, but the network’s reinvention as state TV has rendered it utterly appalling. Everyone at Fox is complicit in what the network has become.

    The Fox-Trump fusion that Mayer reveals -- the total breakdown of basic journalistic standards, the endless propagation of paranoid conspiracy theories bolstering Trump, the revolving door between network and White House, the Fox hosts advising the president by day and shilling for him on air by night -- came about while Wallace and company were collecting paychecks from the network. To the extent they may have wished to halt that slide, they were obviously unable to do so.

    That's because Fox is -- by design, and to its core -- a right-wing propaganda apparatus that relies on misinformation, disinformation, and outright bigotry to promote the conservative movement and Republican Party. That is its business model and its political project. It also employs some reporters, who have little influence over the bulk of the network’s operations. The reporters may at times criticize the unwillingness of other Fox employees to follow basic media ethics, but to no avail; as Mayer points out, “many Fox News reporters were angry, and provided critical anonymous quotes to the media” after Sean Hannity appeared on stage at a Trump political rally, but Fox supported Hannity nonetheless. The network’s pro-Trump talkers provide Fox with an audience, ratings, and political heft, and so its executives will choose the Hannitys over the Wallaces every time.

    The Wallaces nonetheless play important roles -- ones that are unique in the media.

    At a normal outlet, journalists report out stories and try to break news. At Fox, on-air talent who roughly adhere to journalistic standards serve a very different purpose: They provide Fox’s PR team a fig leaf to point to when critics decry the network’s vile programming. When Hannity, Tucker Carlson, or Laura Ingraham get in trouble, Fox corporate can point to the likes of Wallace or Smith “challenging the Administration” as evidence that the network is more than a right-wing fever swamp.

    Mayer highlights two examples of this phenomenon: Smith giving a monologue in which he “contradicted Trump’s scaremongering about immigrants,” and Wallace debunking one of the White House’s “wildly inaccurate” talking points during an interview with press secretary Sarah Sanders. Both instances garnered media attention precisely because they cut against the right-wing lies and smears typically seen on Fox programs with much bigger audiences.

    That attention benefits Fox’s PR offensive: When clips like these go viral, they become examples the network’s team can highlight when they want to argue that Fox is not a monolithic pro-Trump apparatus. Fox keeps people like Wallace and Smith on the payroll not in spite of these types of segments, but because these segments burnish the Fox brand for journalists, advertisers, politicians, and other elites who don’t watch the network’s programming on a regular basis, more than making up for the hosts’ hefty salaries.

    But these deviations from Fox’s norms are ultimately hollow. In effect, they are the new versions of former Fox host Megyn Kelly’s “Megyn moments,” bolstering the credibility of the hosts and their network, but without any broader impact on the trajectory of Fox’s programming. Smith may tell his audience that there is no immigrant “invasion,” but that doesn’t stop the network’s prime-time lineup from assuring its much larger audiences that there is one. Wallace can give Trump aides a hard time in his interviews, but those exchanges end up going viral everywhere except at Fox itself, which apparently prefers not to inform too many viewers about the administration’s false talking points.

    As The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple put it: “Nothing that Smith says during his Fox News program -- no matter how sick his burns on Trump might be -- neutralizes the impact of Dobbs or Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson or dozens of other Fox talking heads. Nothing. Episodic truth-telling about Trump doesn’t excuse fulsome conspiracy-theorizing about Trump.”

    Baier and, of late, MacCallum, are often included in these discussions, but they largely went unmentioned by Mayer. I find their typical inclusion in these discussions suspect. Both tend to avoid publicly criticizing their colleagues, unlike Smith and Wallace, and produce far fewer of these viral moments. Baier’s biggest story in recent years was his quickly debunked and largely retracted report, days before the 2016 election, that the FBI was conducting a “very high priority” investigation of “possible pay-for-play interaction” between Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation that would “likely” result in an indictment; more recently, he’s breached ethical norms by golfing with Trump. Meanwhile, MacCallum is every bit as pure an ideologue as anyone else on the network, using her show to claim that a border wall is “needed” to stop the immigrant “invasion” and declare that “both sides” were at fault during the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA, among other misdeeds.

    It’s also telling that the network’s PR effort consistently focuses on these sorts of moments from Fox’s journalistically inclined anchors rather than major news stories that its reporters break. That’s because the dirty secret of Fox News’ “news” team is that the “news” team doesn’t break much news.

    The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and a host of other news outlets have spent the last few years producing scoops at a furious, exhausting rate. What Fox scoops can you remember? Despite unparalleled access to the Trump administration and other Republican officials, the network has little to show for itself.

    Instead, the Fox “news” team provides daily fodder for the network’s right-wing stars to opine about. Their role is to fill the network’s “news” hours with reports on whatever stories conservatives are panicking over that day -- Uranium One, Benghazi, migrant caravans, and the purported Justice Department conspiracy against Trump among them. They provide incremental stories, often sourced to Republican legislators, that advance the narratives with fresh details for the “opinion”-side hosts to freak out about.

    Sammon himself is a key party to this dynamic. In 2010 and 2011, this top “news”-side figure became the subject of widespread criticism after Media Matters produced a series of reports showing how he had used his position to slant the network’s news coverage to the right -- including by claiming on air during the 2008 election that Barack Obama was advocating socialism, a charge he admitted he did not believe. Rather than firing Sammon for lying to its audience, Fox curtailed his on-air appearances but let him keep his senior job overseeing the network’s news coverage. Most recently, he was the point man in Fox’s effort to get the Democratic National Committee to let the network host a presidential primary debate, an attempt that ended Wednesday when the DNC announced that it would not partner with Fox in light of Mayer’s story.

    Mayer points to two cases in which Fox considered taking a big swing at a major scoop. It’s instructive to consider them as a pair. First, during the 2016 presidential campaign, a FoxNews.com reporter put together the story that Trump had had a sexual relationship with the adult film actress known as Stormy Daniels and that a payoff and nondisclosure agreement had been arranged to prevent her from detailing the affair. Second, in 2017, a second FoxNews.com reporter developed a story suggesting that the murdered Democratic staffer Seth Rich, rather than Russian intelligence operatives, had stolen the DNC emails that were leaked during the campaign.

    The former story, which would have been damaging to Trump, never ran. The latter, which benefited his claims that he had not been helped by Russia, did. The Rich story quickly unraveled, eventually forcing Fox to issue a retraction. The network also claimed it was conducting an internal investigation, but to this date no results have materialized and no employee held accountable.

    That’s how things work at Fox. It’s long been a propaganda outlet, and now it’s merged with the White House. It is toxic, and no number of tough Wallace interviews or Smith viral monologues can redeem it.

  • Conservatives are lying about the migrant caravan to scare people into voting for Republicans

    Blog ››› ››› LEANNE NARAMORE

    Just two weeks ahead of the midterm elections, right-wing media figures and President Donald Trump are spreading lies about the migrant caravan, falsely claiming that the caravan has been infiltrated by radical terrorists and is on its way to invade and destroy the U.S. These lies are designed purely to scare people into voting for Republicans in the midterms; any honest reporting on this situation must be framed around that fact. Here are some good examples so far, via CNN, MSNBC, and Shepard Smith on Fox News:

  • Fox News largely ignored a major new climate change report

    Fox's one substantial segment on the U.N. report featured right-wing arguments against taking dramatic action

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    A new landmark report from a United Nations scientific panel warns that humanity is rapidly running out of time to take the unprecedented action needed to prevent horrific impacts from climate change. The report, released on Sunday night at 9 p.m. EDT by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was covered by a number of major media outlets the following day. CNN reported, "A sobering major report on climate change warns that we could be careening toward catastrophe." The New York Times noted that the report "paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought." The BBC reported, "It's the final call, say scientists, the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures."

    But Fox News aired very little coverage of the report on Monday.

    In morning coverage, Fox skipped the climate report but found time to criticize Taylor Swift

    Fox did not air a single segment that mentioned the U.N. report in its coverage from 4 a.m to noon EST on Monday. In contrast, CNN spent more than seven and a half minutes on the report over that period, and MSNBC spent more than four and a half minutes.

    While Fox couldn't spare a moment from its morning lineup for climate catastrophe, the network dedicated more than nine minutes to pop star Taylor Swift's Instagram post endorsing two Democratic candidates in Tennessee and encouraging people to register to vote. Fox hosts and guests criticized Swift's post and argued that she didn't know enough to weigh in on politics.

    In prime-time coverage, Fox skipped the climate report but found time to criticize Indigenous People's Day

    Fox's nightly prime-time shows on Monday also completely neglected to mention the report.

    Host Tucker Carlson did make a mention of pollution, but he meant the pollution of the public sphere by liberal ideas. Guest Cesar Vargas, an immigration attorney, greeted Carlson with, "Happy Indigenous Peoples Day." Carlson responded, "Don't pollute the show with that nonsense. It's Columbus Day, pal, come on."

    Carlson also made time to read lyrics from John Mayer's song "Your Body Is a Wonderland" and call toxic masculinity "some made-up, dumb feminist term."

    Fox covered the climate report just twice on Monday

    During Fox's "Special Report With Bret Baier" on Monday evening, host Baier spent about 30 seconds during a news rundown giving a straightforward overview of the report.

    "Shepard Smith Reporting" on Monday afternoon spent about two and a half minutes on the report, kicking off with Smith saying, "Climate change is real, the situation is urgent, and time is running out. That's the new warning from a landmark United Nations report." But Smith's summary of the report was followed by Fox correspondent Trace Gallagher using right-wing talking points to argue against taking the dramatic action that scientists say is needed:

    Gallagher: Even outside scientists who acknowledge that something has to be done to prevent the planet from warming say the goal laid out by the United Nations is really unreasonable because it would mean draconian cuts in emissions and dramatic changes in the way that we use energy, meaning extremely high gas prices, a lot more regulations, and putting governments right in the middle of decisions on how people utilize their private property. As you noted, the authors say that these goals really are a long shot. The conservative Cato Institute called some of the conclusions absurd. But former Vice President Al Gore praises the report, says he believes technology is the answer but we need to rely on solutions available today.

    Fox has spent years downplaying and mocking climate change

  • The Fox News show on Facebook's news streaming service has repeatedly shilled for Brett Kavanaugh

    Fox News Update pushes pro-Kavanaugh propaganda -- except for the episodes that Shep Smith hosts

    Blog ››› ››› NATALIE MARTINEZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Since several women reported Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for sexual assault and sexual misconduct, the morning edition of Fox News’ show Fox News Update -- which airs on Facebook’s online streaming platform Facebook Watch -- has been spreading pro-Kavanaugh propaganda.

    Fox News Update launched this summer as part of a multimillion dollar content initiative by Facebook “to show news that is trustworthy, informative, and local.” The Fox show currently boasts more than 350,000 followers, generally consists of four to five minute headline reports, and airs live on weekdays at 6 a.m. and 4 p.m., and weekends at 10 a.m.

    Fox News Update morning editions have taken an aggressively pro-Kavanaugh stance, often featuring clips and comments exclusively from Kavanaugh allies (like the Judicial Crisis Network) while headlining news that downplays and discredits sexual assault reports.

    September 15

    One day after news first broke of a sexual assault report made against Kavanaugh, Fox News Update’s coverage opened with women defending him.

    Fox News Update host Ed Henry reported on a letter written by 65 women defending Kavanaugh before he ever mentioned the sexual assault report by a then-unidentified woman, and Kavanaugh’s denial.

    From the September 15 edition of Fox News Morning Update:

    ED HENRY (HOST): 65 women, meanwhile, stepping forward to defend President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. A letter sent to the Senate states in part, “Through the more than 35 years we have known him, Brett has stood out for his friendship, character. and integrity.” The letter comes after Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein reported an allegation against Kavanaugh to the FBI.

    September 17

    The second headline related to Kavanaugh from Fox News Morning Update came two days later on September 17’s edition of the show, after providing no coverage of new reports of Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct on September 16. It featured a clip of a Judicial Crisis Network spokesperson calling sexual assault reports “an 11th-hour character assassination.”

    A day after a Washington Post story identified Christine Blasey Ford as the woman who had reported Kavanaugh for sexual assault, the pro-Kavanaugh right-wing group Judicial Crisis Network launched a $1.5 million ad campaign defending President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court. Fox News Morning Update reported the White House defense of Kavanaugh and aired a Fox & Friends First clip in which Judicial Crisis Network spokesperson Gayle Trotter cast doubt on Ford’s  reports, saying that if they “were credible, they would have been raised long before this” and characterizing them as an “eleventh-hour character assassination”

    From the September 17 edition of Fox News Morning Update:

    September 18

    The following day, Fox News Update ran a clip previously aired on Fox & Friends First featuring conservative attorney Mark W. Smith claiming the process in which sexual assault reports were presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee “looked a little sketchy.”

    From the September 18 edition of Fox News Morning Update:

    MARK W. SMITH: I think the strong presumption of innocence in this situation is on Brett Kavanaugh’s side. In the way they were presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee, frankly, looks a little sketchy. It was given to a very partisan Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, many months ago --

    HEATHER CHILDERS (HOST): And she had it for a while.

    SMITH: And she had it, and did nothing with it until only at the last second when it looked like the Kavanaugh nomination -- the confirmation was inevitable. Just the process itself raises real questions. Is this another D.C. establishment sort of game of dirty tricks?

    September 19

    On its September 19 edition, Fox News Morning Update only briefly mentioned updates related to the Kavanaugh reports before shifting focus to a Democratic "#MeToo double standard" regarding allegations of domestic abuse by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN). The allegations are rightfully under investigation by several entities, including potentially the House Ethics Committee.

    From the September 19 edition of Fox News Morning Update:

    September 20

    The first mention of Ford’s name on Fox News Morning Update came four days after she was identified by The Washington Post.

    Fox News Morning Update aired a Fox & Friends First clip in which Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe called sexual assault reports about Kavanaugh an “over-correction” from the #MeToo movement, bemoaning that Kavanaugh’s “future, his life is not being taken into account”.

    From the September 20 edition of Fox News Morning Update:

    LISA BOOTHE (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): I think there has now been this overcorrection where a man is guilty until proven innocent and I don’t want to live in that society either. … No, it is not OK if an innocent man gets caught up in this malign smear, his career is ruined. And that is my problem with the #MeToo movement, because in the instance of Brett Kavanaugh, his future, his life is not being taken into account. And his life is hanging in the balance here as well, and that needs to be considered.

    September 21

    After Ford agreed to testify in Congress, Fox News Update aired a clip of Kavanaugh’s former clerk calling sexual assault reports “outlandish and ridiculous.”

    From the September 21 edition of Fox News Morning Update:

    JENNIFER MASCOTT (FORMER CLERK FOR KAVANAUGH): My reaction reading the report is that it was outlandish and ridiculous. I clerked for Judge Kavanaugh his first year on the bench, and in my experience with him then, and in the 12 years following with him and his family, he’s been nothing but completely above board, transparent, highest amount of character and integrity.

    September 22

    Fox News Update criticized Ford for requesting that certain conditions be met for her to testify, airing a Fox & Friends clip featuring frequent Fox guest Alan Dershowitz.

    From the September 22 edition of Fox News Morning Update:

    September 24

    After The New Yorker reported that Deborah Ramirez said an inebriated Kavanaugh had put his penis in front of her face while they were both undergraduate students at Yale, Fox News Morning Update referred back to the Judicial Crisis Network’s spokesperson, who characterized Ramirez’s report as a “smear attempt.”

    Fox News Update host Carly Shimkus introduced a clip of spokesperson Trotter by repeating her assertion that “Judge Kavanaugh’s lifetime of moral integrity will outlast these allegations.” From the September 24 edition of Fox News Morning Update:

    TROTTER: We’re seeing many similarities. Anybody can make a claim, an outrageous claim about someone. But what matters are facts and evidence, and the facts in this case are going to show that Judge Kavanaugh is going to be able to withstand this smear attempt because of his sterling character and sterling reputation.

    September 25

    Fox News Update replayed clips of Kavanaugh defending himself from Martha MacCallum’s interview with Kavanaugh and his wife without any mention of Ford or Ramirez.

    From the September 25 edition of Fox News Morning Update:

    September 27

    The morning before Ford’s testimony, Fox News Morning Update opened with a headline that read: “2 men claim Ford confused Kavanaugh for them.”

    The story, which was amplified by right-wing media, was rated “unproven” by the fact-checking website Snopes. In the same episode, the Judicial Crisis Network spokesperson used Fox’s headline to call all sexual assault reports made about Kavanaugh “unsubstantiated and discredited.”

    From the September 27 edition of Fox News Morning Update:

    TROTTER: As this story shows, when we get the facts about these allegations, we understand that every single one of the allegations is unsubstantiated and discredited. So here’s another example of this phenomenon where there are other witnesses who say that this story is in doubt. … The important thing to know is this is not a legal process, though. This is a far-left partisan smear of someone who will be another great justice. This attempt to smear him is going to fail. The Senate will confirm Judge Kavanaugh.

    September 28

    The day after Ford and Kavanaugh testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Fox News Update aired a clip of Kavanaugh’s personal friend defending him.

    Kavanaugh’s friend David McIntosh said sexual assault reports were part of a “Democrat smear campaign” against Kavanaugh and Trump. From the September 28 edition of Fox News Morning Update:

    That same day, Fox News Morning Update featured social media user comments that undermined sexual assault reports.

    Comments from users were solicited as reactions to the headline “Celebs mock Kavanaugh during hearing.” One user comment featured on the show defended Kavanaugh by writing “What exactly is the proper emotion for being falsely accused?” Another user comment the show promoted taunted the credibility sexual assault reports, stating, “Mocking a person for acting human? What’s next, finding someone guilty in the court of public opinion, and subsequently destroying their life, based on an accusation with zero corroboration? Oh wait..”

    From the September 28 edition of Fox News Morning Update:

    Afternoon updates

    The morning edition of Fox News Update has peppered its Facebook viewers with pro-Kavanaugh propaganda, mirroring the network’s coverage on television by using clips from Fox & Friends First and Fox & Friends.

    The way the sexual assault reports about Kavanaugh were covered by the afternoon edition of Fox News Update, usually hosted by Shepard Smith, illustrated the divide between Smith’s straight news reporting and the relentless partisanship of other content on the network. Afternoon updates included reports that didn’t minimize sexual misconduct reports -- like the September 21 afternoon headline reporting that the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport trended on Twitter after Trump tweeted questioning the timing of reports, or a report on September 27 covering the hearing in which both Ford and Kavanaugh testified, which called her “credible” and dismissed Republican claims that Ford was a political operative.