Shep Smith breaks his silence about why he left Fox News

CNBC host Shepard Smith discusses his time at Fox News and why he eventually left.

Posted: Jan 20, 2021 1:00 PM
Updated: Jan 20, 2021 1:00 PM

Shep Smith, who left Fox News in October 2019 while in the middle of a three-year contract, has remained largely silent about his departure -- until an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour that aired Tuesday.

Smith, now host of the nightly show "The News with Shepard Smith" at 7 pm ET on CNBC, told Amanpour that his presence on Fox became untenable as opinion shows on the network spread falsehoods that hosts knew were lies.

"Opine all you like, but if you're going to opine, begin with the truth and opine from there," Smith said. "When people begin with a false premise and lead people astray, that's injurious to society and it's the antithesis of what we should be doing: Those of us who are so honored and grateful to have a platform of public influence have to use it for the public good."

Smith, who joined Fox News at its inception in 1996, said he was proud of the work he did at the network, hosting a daytime news show that was increasingly at odds with what was being aired on Fox's opinion shows. Smith felt that by sticking with Fox News, he could counteract falsehoods spread by Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and other prime-time hosts.

"I thought it was important that I stay there," he said. "If you feel like the Fox viewers were getting mis- or disinformation, I was there to make sure that they got it straight," he said.

Smith thought depriving viewers of news and replacing it with opinions "felt a little selfish," he added.

But in the end, staying felt impossible, CNN Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter reported shortly after Smith's departure. The breaking point for Smith came as tensions with the opinion shows were getting to be too much.

For example, in late September 2019, 8 pm ET host Tucker Carlson mocked Smith for standing up for his friend and colleague Judge Andrew Napolitano after the judge was called a "fool" by one of Carlson's guests. The network's lack of a vocal defense for Smith following the incident bothered him and the whole episode factored into his decision to leave, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Executives at the network leaned on him to stay, but they were unsuccessful. Smith announced his departure on air, then exited the building immediately.

"I stuck with it for as long as I could," Smith said. "At some point, I realized I've reached a point of diminishing returns, and I left."

Smith told Amanpour that he continues to be disturbed by what is reported on Fox.

"I don't know how some people sleep at night," Smith said of the Fox News employees who knowingly spread falsehoods. "I know that there are a lot of people who have propagated the lies and who have pushed them forward over and over again who are smart enough and educated enough to know better."

Lafayette
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 38°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 32°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 29°
Lafayette
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 38°
Danville
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 42°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 34°
Frankfort
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 34°
Monticello
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 32°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 32°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 30°
Mild Conditions Continue Wednesday
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

WLFI is promoting fire safety with FREE smoke detectors

 WLFI and several local fire departments are helping with your fire safety this winter. CLICK HERE. 

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 657037

Reported Deaths: 12450
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion901321624
Lake48105871
Allen35552632
Hamilton31839393
St. Joseph29538510
Elkhart25261412
Vanderburgh21115377
Tippecanoe19765197
Johnson16242352
Porter15838267
Hendricks15723296
Clark11843179
Madison11672314
Vigo11503228
Monroe10248158
Delaware9788178
LaPorte9720194
Howard9017194
Kosciusko8514107
Bartholomew7373147
Warrick7369146
Hancock7362128
Floyd7139164
Wayne6586188
Grant6395157
Morgan6040124
Boone603388
Dubois5868111
Dearborn540266
Henry539492
Marshall5390104
Cass537199
Noble506775
Jackson462063
Shelby458490
Lawrence4154111
Gibson399681
Harrison395160
Clinton392353
DeKalb382078
Montgomery381583
Knox354484
Miami354063
Whitley346235
Huntington338176
Steuben335955
Wabash328775
Putnam325959
Ripley325161
Adams320249
Jasper312943
White295351
Jefferson292770
Daviess284296
Fayette270255
Decatur269388
Greene259978
Posey259731
Wells255374
Scott248446
LaGrange240170
Clay238944
Randolph225076
Spencer215830
Jennings213544
Washington207727
Sullivan202038
Fountain200341
Starke185950
Owen181652
Jay177328
Fulton176437
Carroll175618
Perry172435
Orange170450
Rush163922
Franklin158335
Vermillion158040
Tipton145441
Parke137915
Pike127232
Blackford120027
Pulaski105643
Newton96431
Brown94639
Benton91113
Crawford90113
Martin80114
Switzerland7507
Warren74612
Union66810
Ohio52711
Unassigned0425

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events