As you’ll see, Smith offers this chiefly as a critique of diGenova, who appeared on Carlson’s show last night to sneer at Napolitano’s criticism of Trump on the Ukraine matter. But he makes a point of noting that that criticism went “unchallenged” by the unnamed host.
Is this it? At long last, the “news vs. opinion” civil war at Fox News turning from cold to hot, triggered by the anger and anxieties surrounding impeachment?
Remember, Shep is also the guy who famously said this last year about his colleagues in Fox’s evening bloc:
“Some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining,” Smith told Time Magazine’s Daniel D’Addario in a piece titled, “Shep Smith Has the Hardest Job on Fox News.”
“We serve different masters,” Smith, 54, added when discussing the difference between the opinion side of Fox News, including shows such as “The Sean Hannity Show,” and the network’s news division. “We work for different reporting chains, we have different rules. They don’t really have rules on the opinion side. They can say whatever they want. If it’s their opinion.”…
“I don’t really watch a lot of opinion programming,” Smith continued. “I’m busy.”
He seems to view his role on the news side during the Trump era as a corrective to the partisan excesses of his own network’s opinion hosts but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him call out anyone else on the network by name (almost by name, I should say). But Shep would say, I assume, that turnabout is fair play: Tucker and diGenova started this by denigrating one of Fox’s own contributors. If their imperative to defend Trump at all costs now includes dogging Fox personnel on Fox’s own airwaves, well, Smith will behave in like fashion.
Tomorrow I half expect to see Hannity burst through the wall of his set like Kool-Aid Man while Shep is on the air and challenge him to a karate match, right then and there.
Loser has to admit that Trump rules/sucks, as the case may be.
The Shep/Tucker thing wasn’t the only example of Foxies clashing on the air today either. Hoo boy:
Fox show completely implodes when Juan Williams notes that conservative media is regurgitating talking points from the White House pic.twitter.com/EZ13ChimO6
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) September 25, 2019
The claim made by Napolitano that earned him the insult from diGenova was suggesting that Trump committed a campaign finance violation when he asked Zelensky to investigate a potential general election opponent. Law prof Richard Hasen, who specializes in election statutes, addressed that argument a few days ago. Did Trump solicit a “thing of value” from a foreign national, i.e. Zelensky, in pressing him to reopen the Biden probe? Well, arguably, yeah, said Hasen. Napolitano’s not a “fool” for thinking that. Oppo research counts as a “thing of value” and Trump would certainly have had knowledge that this sort of thing was a crime after his Mueller experience. That doesn’t mean he could be successfully prosecuted — there’s a potential First Amendment defense — but it’s not batty to think he committed an offense. And just to emphasize the point, Shep himself reads a few opinions in the clip from other former prosecutors who agree. The main argument against Napolitano’s position is a political one, not a legal one: Democrats just aren’t going to convince the public that a president should be removed from office for violating something as byzantine and frequently dubious as campaign finance law. If you want to build support for impeachment, you stick to things which people know in their gut are wrong. Bribery. Extortion. That’s what Democrats would have to prove.
Here’s Shep this afternoon calling out diGenova and Tucker followed by Napolitano’s latest broadside against Trump (in which he does mention bribery). I wonder if Tucker will respond on his own show tonight or if Fox executives have called a team huddle and warned everyone to stop attacking members of the Fox family going forward.