Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Round Of Applause For Shepard Smith


FOX News personalities like Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck often bemoan the way their network is treated by the Obama Administration and by other media outlets. They take the criticism against them as being some sort of left-wing conspiracy against a not-left-leaning news network. Of course, they're wrong. The criticism that "FOX News isn't news" comes from the fact that they don't perform straight journalism, but give a platform for conservative politicians and ideologues to say their piece. (There's nothing wrong with that, it's just not journalism).

At the forefront of this reactionary charge is Sean Hannity who complains day in and day out that FOX is bullied by the Left and belittled because it won't kowtow to the Obama Administration. Shortly thereafter, Hannity chums it up with Newt Gingrich (who he seems to have on at least once a week) and pleads with him, again, to run for President in 2012.

A new opportunity for Hannity to contradict himself has been with the Tea Party crowd, who he obviously fawns over, though claims he's just covering them straight. On Tuesday night, Hannity was all over the the Shirley Sherrod story, even bringing on Andrew Breitbart to discuss what terrible racist hypocrites sit on the Left. Of course, Hannity was wrong and was once again simply lobbing up softballs for conservative activists to swing at.

One person who didn't do that, however, was Shepard Smith. In the dismal news failure that is FOX, Smith stands out as a principled and strong journalist. When the truth of the Sherrod story broke, Smith explained that his show, Studio B, had refused to discuss it the night before because they didn't trust the source (Breitbart's and didn't know enough about the video to run it- knowing that doing so would lend it credit.

This isn't the first time that Smith has shown true integrity amongst the conservative apologists at FOX. In 2009, when so-called "torture memos" were declassified and shed light on the way the CIA and others interrogated suspected terrorists, FOX did all it could to make excuses and create wiggle room for what is and what is not torture. Smith, however, refused to play such a game and stated simply "This is America, we don't torture." He even got so angry about it, at one point, that he inadvertently dropped an f-bomb. Smith, of course, is right. This is America. We don't torture. End of story. It's not a conservative thing or a liberal thing. Just like editing a tape to make someone look like a racist is neither conservative or liberal- it's just wrong. I love to give credit where it's due, and Shepard Smith deserves credit. Well done.

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