Remember what one Fox employee told CNN a few weeks ago after Shep Smith left?
“It feels like death in the news division,” a senior Fox employee told CNN about Smith’s departure, saying staffers at the network were “shocked” and that some were crying. “At least we had him.”…
A third Fox employee, who said “staffers were openly weeping” after the announcement, noted that some staffers “were here and have stayed here solely for” Smith.
“Don’t be surprised if there’s an exodus,” the person told CNN, adding, “Fox hasn’t just lost Shep today.”
Like Shep, Herridge had been with Fox News since the day it launched 23 years ago. Now, within weeks of him leaving, she’s gone. Hmmmm!
Are they indirectly linked, though? Variety:
Herridge’s move is said to have been in the works for several weeks, and is not tied to Smith’s exit. Her contract with Fox News lapsed this summer, and the network had been negotiating to get her to stay, according to a person familiar with the matter. has not been known for jousting with the opinion programs. The opportunity to move to CBS News was seen as one she could not turn down, this person said…
“CBS News has always placed a premium on enterprise journalism and powerful investigations,” said Herridge, in a statement. “I feel privileged to join a team where facts and storytelling will always matter.”
Political types are paying lots of attention to that last line this morning. It’s weird for a journalist to congratulate her new employer on believing that facts always matter. It’d be like a pro football player congratulating his new team for caring about blocking and tackling. It’s the most basic task of the profession, something that would normally be taken completely for granted.
The only reason to mention it, it would seem, is if you wanted to draw a contrast with your old employer. If your previous team was conspicuously bad at blocking and tackling — or if your previous news network had grown ambivalent about the facts during certain hours of programming, let’s say — then sure, maybe you’d be grateful that your new employer feels differently. That is to say, while Herridge’s departure may not have been inspired by Shep’s, the underlying reasons for each wanting to leave now after decades at Fox may overlap substantially.
I wonder when Chris Wallace will finally pull the ripcord. He’ll be there at least another year, as he’s under contract through the election. Maybe it’ll depend on whether Trump loses the election, in which case Fox will quickly shed its Trumpy identity for a more traditional “small government” brand. Whereas if he wins and it’s four more years of Trump TV, that would be a grim prospect for an obvious Trump-skeptic like Wallace.
It’ll be interesting to see what Jennifer Griffin does too. Like Shep and Herridge, she’s a longtime Fox-er. And she’s certainly not shy about reporting stuff that makes the president unhappy: Her recent coverage of Trump’s decision to abandon the Kurds was brutal, day after day. Maybe Griffin is also tired of reporting facts which she knows will be drowned out by cheerleading in primetime. But with each star reporter that leaves the network, the value of the remaining star reporters rises. It seems likely that Griffin will get more airtime now that Herridge is gone and she’s bound to have more influence over the direction of the news division with the ranks suddenly thinned. There might even be a raise involved in enticing her not to leave. Good reasons to stay put.
Update: Fox sends along the official statements from the network and Herridge herself.
Statement from Jay Wallace, President of FOX News Media:
“As a founding employee, over the last 23 years, Catherine Herridge has been an asset to FOX News. From her breaking news headlines at the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to her reporting after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the investigation into Princess Diana’s death, she has always been at the forefront of every beat she has covered. We are grateful for Catherine’s many contributions to the network, wish her continued success and were proud to honor her as she received the Tex McCrary Award for Journalism last week from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society for her enterprise reporting at FOX News.”
Catherine Herridge Statement:
“I am grateful to Mr. Murdoch for the opportunity to cover the most impactful stories of the last 23 years, most recently the Special Counsel report and impeachment inquiry. I have received great personal satisfaction from mentoring the next generation of reporters and producers and sharing my journalistic values — that facts matter and enterprise reporting will always win the day.”