Former Fox Newsers Talk Shep Smith Departure on CNN: We Didn’t Used to See ‘Fox Opinion Hosts Criticizing the Journalists’


Three former Fox Newsers joined CNN’s Brian Stelter this morning to discuss the implications of Shepard Smith leaving the network.

Former Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky said people she knows at the network are “depressed” and feel like “the management isn’t managing.”

“Now that Shep and Tucker Carlson have gone at each other, obviously Sean Hannity had gone at Shep as well, a lot of them feel they’re not going to have their backs, they’re not going to be protected by the second floor, the people in charge of the network in a way that would have happened before,” she continued.

Conor Powell, a former Fox News correspondent and current freelance journalist for CNN Newsource, said when you take Smith’s voice off a network like Fox, “I’m not sure what you’re left with. I think you’re probably just left with Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson’s voice. I’m not sure that’s particularly a good thing for the United States.”

Carl Cameron, a longtime Fox correspondent who left in 2017, said, “I think it’s very true that the news department, the news division at Fox News Channel has shrunk. And there are an awful lot of really good journalists at Fox News Channel. It’s just that they’re vastly outnumbered by the opinion makers. And the opinion makers are more interested in playing to people’s bias than anything else. And it makes it very difficult for journalists to actually give people honest facts when the airtime is shrinking constantly.”

He said it’s a “good sign” for that hour on Fox that the network is planning to bring in rotating anchors for Fox News Reporting in the time slot, but added, “If it’s opinion mavens, then that’ll be another big chunk of real journalism that won’t exist there.” (Fox is saying the network “will use a rotating series of news anchors” for the new program.)

At one point Stelter noted Roginsky’s lawsuit against Fox News and asked, “Do you have a personal axe to grind against them?”

She said she doesn’t and said, “This is purely from talking to people still at Fox who feel strongly that Roger Ailes, whom I did sue, would never have allowed this to happen. This is actually a compliment to Roger Ailes.”

Cameron added, “Over the years, there was not a history of Fox opinion hosts criticizing the journalists. And over the course of the Trump administration, more and more the opinion hosts have been criticizing the journalists. And so that really pits bias against straight journalism.”

Cameron was on MSNBC Friday reacting to Smith’s abrupt departure. After his comments criticizing Fox for becoming too opinionated, Mediaite received two statements from the network, one of which said, “Tell that to Jennifer Griffin whose report just went viral this week. Or Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, Martha MacCallum or Catherine Herridge who have all done outstanding journalism.”

UPDATE — 12:55 pm ET: Fox News contested that its newsroom has gotten smaller, saying in a response to Mediaite that the network has “increased the amount of news hours on air and the size of our news division” since Jay Wallace became president and Suzanne Scott CEO.

You can watch above, via CNN.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac