“Sometimes facts are displeasing": Shep Smith and Sean Hannity skirmish over Trump

Is this news? I feel like any jabs between Fox News stars are ipso facto news.

It’s more accurate to say that CNN and Mediaite are trying to turn this into news by hyping Hannity’s anodyne comments yesterday about Shep’s political lean. Now that Ailes has passed, O’Reilly was dumped, and Megyn Kelly’s gone and exiled herself to ratings Siberia, opportunities for a good FNC in-house feud are fewer and further between. This one might require some midwifing by the competition.

“I like Shep,” Hannity said. “But he’s so anti-Trump. I mean, he went off on a rant last week.”…

“Shep Smith disagrees with me. And he does so vehemently,” Hannity said later on his radio show. “Fine, I have no problem with it.”

“I’ll say this about the Fox News Channel, there are voices on Fox that drive me nuts,” Hannity said at another point in his show. “Like Shep and I been friends for years, we just respect we don’t agree. And the media was praising Shep and he’s not the biggest fan of Trump, fine! We don’t talk politics when we hang out, when I see him we have the best time and we just have this mutual respect.”

Meh. That’s mildly interesting insofar as Hannity’s accusing someone from the “news” side of his own network of having a bias, but listen to it below in context and you’ll see it’s in service to an argument about Fox’s supposed lack of bias. Shep is anti-Trump, Hannity allows, but that’s part of the network’s “hear all voices” approach. He’s using Shep’s point of view as evidence that Fox writ large really is fair and balanced.

Naturally, Smith didn’t let the insinuation of bias pass. Being an “impartial” news reporter requires denying all charges of partiality, no matter how well-grounded. Perhaps, says Shep, it’s … the facts that are anti-Trump:

“Sometimes facts are displeasing. Journalists report them without fear or favor.”

Double meh. That’s also sort of interesting in that it implies Hannity’s too much of a sycophant to cope with the plain truth anymore, but it’s tactfully stated and weak beer compared to Hannity and Kelly swinging at each other on air and on Twitter during the campaign. Do we have to pretend it’s “controversial” to believe that Shep Smith is an anti-Trump liberal or Sean Hannity is Trump’s most devoted fan in media? It’s like accusing each of them of having dark hair. How can you have an insult-driven “feud” when the “insults” are observations of plain reality?