It’s hard to not to love Shepard Smith. Even the most adamant Fox News haters usually admit that he’s got great instincts and the gravitas of a classic news anchor.
For decades, however, Smith has faced the Sisyphean task of trying to put a rational face on a network that often trades in the irrational.
His latest boulder? The Uranium One conspiracy, which alleges that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led an elaborate scheme to sell our uranium to Russia. Why that’s treason!
President Donald Trump has called the story “Watergate, modern age.” Good ‘ole Sebastian Gorka suggested it was “equivalent to” a 1950s case, in which Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were charged with providing U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, noting that “those people got the chair.” Sean Hannity broke out a series of really big charts and said some things, but…life is short and you don’t need to hear about that.
There’s just one teensy problem with Clinton’s nefarious plot to hide weapons-grade uranium in her pants suit and pass it off to Vladimir Putin, Doc Brown style. The whole thing has been more or less drummed up by Breitbart et al, in a deliberate misreading of what actually happened.
Still, Fox News has gone all in on this story, so nobody expected the network to
issue a correction present “alternate facts” of what the opinion programming shows have presented.
Enter Shepard Smith, put-upon newsman.
Smith methodically deconstructed the conspiracy theory. It was simple. It was effective. It was brutal.
“The accusation is predicated on the charge that Secretary Clinton approved the sale. She did not. A committee of nine evaluated the sale, the president approved the sale, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and others had to offer permits, and none of the uranium was exported for use by the U.S. to Russia,” he said, taking care to note “the Clinton State Department had no power to veto or approve that transaction.”
He also put the kibosh on the theory that the Clinton Foundation engineered the deal, noting that Uranium One founder Frank Giustra, who has donated to the charitable organization, sold his stake in 2007, 18 months before Clinton became Secretary of State, during the presidency of George W. Bush.
This did not sit well with right-leaning Twitter, who accused the anchor of being anti-American and, even worse, belonging on rival network CNN.
Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith should start a show on CNN called "Pink Hat Brigade" that's where you both belong. Shameful Fox, Get rid of these two asshats.
— Matt Couch ? (@RealMattCouch) November 13, 2017
The worst part of a relaxing day is when Shepherd Smith starts talking. He is a smartass that needs to be on CNN. @FoxNews
— Jana Jo ?? (@JanaBanana1217) November 14, 2017
The rest of Twitter, however, was simply amazed by Smith’s devastating takedown, which seemed to fly in the face of the entirety of Fox News.
— (((Molly Jong-Fast))) (@MollyJongFast) November 14, 2017
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) November 15, 2017
— Nicolle Wallace (@NicolleDWallace) November 15, 2017
— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) November 15, 2017
— shauna (@goldengateblond) November 15, 2017
This segment was a massive “fuck you” to Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Fox & Friends, and Smith’s other colleagues who have been pushing conspiracy theories.
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) November 14, 2017
— MarkSuppelsa (@MarkSuppelsa) November 14, 2017
Shep Smith betrays Fox viewers with facts. https://t.co/TfJYBVMwPe
— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) November 15, 2017
Fox News has not announced if Smith’s coworkers are speaking to him or if the network will continue to validate his parking.
[image via screengrab]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.