Shepard Smith makes abrupt departure from Fox News Channel
NEW YORK — Shepard Smith, whose newscast on Fox News Channel seemed increasingly an outlier on a network dominated by supporters of President Donald Trump, abruptly quit after signing off his final newscast on Friday.
Smith, who had signed a contract extension last spring, said that he had asked the network to let him out of his deal and it had agreed.
“Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive,” he said.
His departure comes one day after Attorney General William Barr met privately with media mogul Rupert Murdoch, founder of Fox News, although Smith’s representatives cautioned against conflating the two events.
Trump has been increasingly critical of personalities on Fox News that he views as disloyal. On Thursday, the president cited Smith and Fox analysts Andrew Napolitano and Donna Brazile in a tweet that said, “Fox News doesn’t deliver for US anymore.”
Asked about it later, Trump said, “Is he leaving? Oh, that’s a shame. Is he leaving because he had bad ratings?”
Smith’s show averaged nearly 1.3 million viewers the past three months, the Nielsen company said. That beats CNN and MSNBC. Fox’s prime-time lineup, with more viewers available, generally gets about 3 million viewers.