Hannity jabs Shep Smith in sign of rift between Fox News opinion and news

This is why Trump loves 'Fox & Friends'
This is why Trump loves 'Fox & Friends'

The divide between Fox News Channel's opinion programming and the network's news division boiled over into public view this week, with Sean Hannity, the face of the cable news channel's prime time lineup, and Laura Ingraham, publicly sniping on Friday at Shepard Smith, the outlet's chief news anchor.

On Friday, Hannity tweeted that Smith was "clueless" about what Hannity does on his show each night. Hannity said he counted Smith as a friend and respected his ability to deliver breaking news, but wrote that Smith held "political views I do not share." In the past, Hannity has called Smith "so anti-Trump."

Ingraham, the latest addition to the Fox News prime time lineup, tweeted soon after that she "always liked" Smith, but thought his comments critical of Fox News opinion programming were "inconsiderate & inaccurate."

The eye-popping tweets were prompted by comments Smith provided to Time magazine for a story that was published on Thursday.

In the story, Smith was sharply critical of the Fox News opinion bloc. He said the hosts on the opinion side "don't really have rules" they need to follow, and remarked that some of the opinion programming on Fox News "is there strictly to be entertaining."

The longtime Fox News anchor even suggested he doesn't trust "Fox & Friends," the network's flagship morning show, to report the news accurately, saying, "I try to find out what's happening, as opposed to just listening to what they're saying."

A Fox News spokesperson did not immediately return requests for comment.

Smith is a hard news anchor who is supposed to cover the news straight down the middle with no bias. Hannity is a conservative talk show host extremely supportive of Trump. Both have been with Fox News since its inception in 1996 and it was announced on Thursday that Smith had extended his contract.

Hard news anchors like Smith and Chris Wallace have at times expressed dismay with the news of chaos emerging from the Trump White House. Wallace recently remarked that "Game of Thrones," the popular HBO show, "has nothing on this White House." Meanwhile, hosts like Hannity and Ingraham have sought to downplay such news, instead characterizing it as hysteria from what they tell their audience is a liberal media.

In a particularly striking episode that occurred late last year, Smith dismantled a story that had been played up heavily by his opinion counterparts. He said in a fiery monologue that accusations Hillary Clinton approved the Uranium One sale to the Russians as a "quips pro quo" was not accurate, contrary to what viewers were hearing from network opinion hosts.

Wallace told the Associated Press in story published in October 2017 that he was bothered by how some of his colleagues on the opinion side of the network use their platforms to attack the media.


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