Shepard Smith, a FOX News Channel veteran of 23 years, announced his resignation on air in a move that in an abrupt move that caught his colleagues by surprise.
Smith was one of the original hires at the Fox Corp.-owned network, in 1996. He is known for delivering news straight down the line, not in sync with the high-profile views espoused by popular primetime hosts like Bill O’Reilly, Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson.
“Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter. After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged,” Smith said. “The opportunities afforded this guy from small town Mississippi have been many. It’s been an honour and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favour. I’ve worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I know and I’m proud to have anchored their work each day — I will deeply miss them.”
His departure will no doubt raise speculation that FOX News, which is criticised severely by President Donald Trump when it reports news that doesn’t favour him or his administration, brought pressure to bear. Trump attributed his departure to low ratings, but added that he wished him well.
In his last words at his desk on FOX News, Smith expressed hope that his style of journalism would continue to thrive, despite the seemingly intractable divided between liberals and conservatives in the modern political climate. “Even in our currently polarised nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day,” he told viewers. “That the truth will always matter. That journalism and journalists will thrive.”