Truth, Context, Perspective

Published: October 9, 2020

By Jim Lichtman
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For more than two decades, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith reported the events of the day without fear, favor or attacks from President Trump and the network’s opinionistas.


Nonetheless, Smith shocked his colleagues a year ago when he ended his broadcast to announce his departure.

“Gathering and reporting the news has been my life’s work… FOX has allowed me to travel the country gathering the facts of the day for you at Columbine, Katrina, Iraq , Israel, Lebanon, 9/11, and every life altering event along the way. …

“Together with my colleagues, we’ve written a first draft of history and endeavored to deliver it to you while speaking truth to power without fear or favor, with context and perspective. …

“Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave FOX News and begin a new chapter. After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged.

“Even in our currently polarized nation,” Smith concluded, “it’s my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter.”

Shepard Smith, with the cable news channel since its inception, quickly established himself as the voice of reason in his role as chief anchor and managing editor of the network’s breaking news division. When Trump was elected president, it came as no surprise that he would calmly but directly point out the factual inaccuracies, false conspiracy theories and inflammatory lies by the President. Needless to say, Smith quickly rose on Trump’s enemies list.

If Smith was FOX’s newsman of truth, context and perspective, the network’s opinion-meisters – Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham – are polar opposites.

One month after his abrupt departure from FOX, Smith spoke before the International Press Freedom Awards to talk about the rise of authoritarians who pose a threat to journalists around the world.

I frequently watched Smith’s afternoon news show because he offered an additional viewpoint that I always found informative. Now, after a year on the sidelines, Smith is back. He’s found a new home at MSNBC. And the best part of The News with Shepard Smith airing on CNBC, is that that he’s got a nighttime slot making his reporting available to a larger audience.

In a promo for the show, Smith makes clear that he has zero interest in offering his opinions.

“There are a lot of people on MSNBC who are opinion people. They call themselves that. They give their opinion and people come to watch it. That’s not what we want to do.”

“The facts, the truth, the news in context with perspective,” Smith told Today Show host Savannah Guthrie, “so that people can make decisions in their own lives, not with some guy on television trying to tell them how to think.”

Notice the Smith mantra: “facts…truth… context… perspective.” As a journalist, that’s what Shepard Smith is committed to.

That’s what all of us need more than ever.


  1. “facts… truth… context… perspective,” and your ethical writing, Jim!

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