Shep Smith: I don't know how some of these Fox News hosts sleep at night

C’mon, Shep. You know how they sleep. On piles of money.

A little something to cleanse the palate on inauguration eve. Gosh, it’s been a long time since we had any Shep/Fox drama to gawk at, hasn’t it? I wonder whom he could possibly mean when he describes irresponsible opinion hosts feeding propaganda to viewers instead of facts.

Perhaps someday he’ll clarify for us.

Fox is in the news today for two new personnel decisions, as it happens. In keeping with a recent trend, they’re either demoting or outright shedding people on the news side:

Stirewalt is a canny political writer but he made the grievous “mistake” of leading Fox News’s infamous call of Arizona for Biden on election night, a narrative-confounding bit of information that blew up Trump’s plan to falsely declare victory based on the early returns. Some Fox fans never forgave them for that even though the call, while premature, ended up being vindicated by the returns days later. Stirewalt used to do regular political analysis on-air for Fox but hasn’t been in front of the camera since November, presumably because the network didn’t want to antagonize angry fans by reminding them of the Arizona projection. Today he was sent packing along with several others. Sources inside the network are complaining to the Daily Beast:

Politics editor Chris Stirewalt’s exit from the network coincided with the sacking of at least 16 digital editorial staffers, including senior editors. People familiar with the situation said the layoffs—a “blood bath,” as multiple Fox News insiders described it—were perpetrated by Porter Berry, the Sean Hannity crony now in charge of remaking Fox’s digital properties in the image of its right-wing opinion programming…

[A] dozen current and recently departed Fox News employees who spoke with The Daily Beast all said the “purge”—as a few characterized it—was part of the network’s larger effort to pivot its website from straight-news reporting to right-wing opinion content in the mold of Fox’s primetime programming.

“There is a concerted effort to get rid of real journalists,” said one recently departed Fox staffer. “They laid capable people off who were actual journalists and not blind followers.”

Meanwhile, one of the Fox hosts being given a tryout for FNC’s now-vacant 7 p.m. slot is Maria Bartiromo, who’s done more to advance “stop the steal” propaganda than any host on any Fox property with the possible exception of Lou Dobbs. She’s already on Dominion’s radar as a potential target for a defamation lawsuit, with the company having sent her (and other Fox hosts) a letter weeks ago warning her to preserve documents in case the matter goes to trial. Just this morning Bartiromo casually asserted that attackers at the Capitol two weeks ago were Democrats in MAGA garb, a claim denied by both the DOJ and GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy:

If you dump Stirewalt while raising Bartiromo’s profile, you’re sending a very clear message about where your priorities lie. “This is Fox’s only possible path: They have to cut the OAN/Newsmax insurgency off at the knees. And to do that, they have to go harder MAGA,” tweeted Jonathan Last this afternoon about the Stirewalt/Bartiromo news. “Now: What do you think that means for the future of the GOP?”

I think it means a lot of things, none of them good.

Here’s Shep, who’ll have to reconcile himself to the fact that it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.