Shepard Smith Loses It When FNC Colleagues Ask Legitimate Questions About Baltimore Riots

During live coverage of the Baltimore riots during the 5:00 p.m. ET hour on Monday, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith scolded and mocked hosts of The Five for daring to ask legitimate questions about the violence.

Eric Bolling simply observing that the rioters were "predominantly African-American" set Smith off: "Hey, it's a predominantly African-American community....But if we want to create larger racial tensions on the heels of this and all the recent African-American problems that we've seen, then we can do that. But if we'd like to look at this as a history of people having problem with police, not people of a color, but people of a community who have had problems with the police."

Smith continued his rant: "If we want to turn this, as a nation, into something that will rile up the races, then we can do that. But it seems prudent to listen to the two sides....you get to this point, where you get no answers for eight days after a man [Freddie Gray] died for looking at somebody – eight days later, people almost feel like they have a license to ill."

Greg Gutfeld called out Smith for seeming to rationalize the violence: "That sounds really disturbing to me. It's almost as though you're justifying this action, Shep." Smith declared: "I am in no way justifying anything. I'm telling you that if you forget history..." Gutfeld shot back: "I don't forget history...I'm looking at something that's really ugly right now."

Smith kept trying to make excuses: "It is ugly. And history tells us that when a group of people feel so helpless-" Gutfeld interrupted: "They don't riot when they feel helpless. Not everybody riots, Shep." Smith argued: "But eventually history tells us they do. That's what's happened in all of the social uprisings across this country."

Minutes later, Bolling wondered about the response to the riots: "I haven't heard anything from any civil rights leaders, have you?" Smith lectured: "It seems like in the middle of all of this to start picking on people for civil rights and what they're saying and what they're not saying, we could spend our time watching this and reporting on it as we have street after street-"

Bolling hit back: "I don't know, Shep. I don't know, I think it might be a nice idea, nice timing for one of the higher profile civil rights leaders – who tend to come in after the fact and say, 'Look how bad things are with the police officers,' but if they came in now during the thing, saying, 'Hey, let's call for peace, let's have some calm here.'"

Smith sarcastically replied: "That's a wonderful idea. I'm confident they're all watching and will, on your instruction, do exactly that."

Moments later, after Smith himself referenced the parents of the teenaged rioters, Gutfeld asked: "You mentioned parents. Where are the parents?" Smith snidely remarked: "Well, you know, I've not been on the phone with them. But if we want to sit here and indict the civil rights community and indict the parents for what we're watching right now, instead of for now just covering what happens and then later talk about whose fault it is, because we don't know whose fault it is."

Bolling had enough: "Shep – can I just jump in, Shep. No one's indicting anyone. We're watching the pictures, we're asking legitimate questions. A lot of our viewers are probably asking the same questions."

Repeating his previous question, Bolling demanded: "Where's Al Sharpton, where's Jesse Jackson?"

Smith kept up the outrage:

You know what? I also don't know where they are. We've got a major American city that has decades of turmoil within this neighborhood. Decades. You heard the stories...of people being arrested for nothing, of a violent crackdown for years and years, of them feeling powerless and hopeless and nobody listening to what they were saying. One-quarter of the youth locked up. Clearly there is a big problem. Then all of a sudden an African-American man is taken into a vehicle and he comes out of it and dies and you get nothing from authorities except a suspension. And then those who would do harm take an opportunity to do harm and here we are. But it's what has happened between all of that and today that has led to this. There is no escaping that reality.

Here is a transcript of the exchanges during the April 27 live coverage:

5:17 PM ET

(...)

ERIC BOLLING: Shep, a couple of numbers. The police department there is forty – I'm sorry, 41% African-American, the police commissioner's African-American, and so is the mayor there.

(...)

5:19 PM ET

SHEPARD SMITH: But you mentioned those African-American and Caucasian and other statistics. The people here say, and have been saying since this happened, this is not about black and white as much as it is about haves and have-nots. That the haves get away – the haves don't have trouble and the have-nots do have trouble. That's what they've been saying. I can only report to you what they've been saying.

GREG GUTFELD: Well, it looks like the have-nots are-

SMITH: They're getting.

BOLLING: Predominantly African-American. I'm not – are you seeing – is it – it's obviously a predominantly African-American-

SMITH: Hey, it's a predominantly African-American community and predominantly African-American people here. But if we want to create larger racial tensions on the heels of this and all the recent African-American problems that we've seen, then we can do that. But if we'd like to look at this as a history of people having problem with police, not people of a color, but people of a community who have had problems with the police. Are there big problems in that community with lawlessness? There are. The people who were there will tell you in many cases that's about poverty and lack of opportunity and being put down by the man. That's what they've said all along.

If we want to turn this, as a nation, into something that will rile up the races, then we can do that. But it seems prudent to listen to the two sides, who are more insistent that this is about, "You have a way, we don't have a way." And then once you get to this point, where you get no answers for eight days after a man died for looking at somebody – eight days later, people almost feel like they have a license to ill. Well, today they took that license to ill and we can only hope that police officers and juveniles don't end up dead.

GUTFELD: That sounds really disturbing to me. It's almost as though you're justifying this action, Shep.

SMITH: I am in no way justifying anything. I'm telling you that if you forget history...

GUTFELD: I don't forget history.

SMITH: ...if you forget where this comes from-

GUTFELD: I'm looking at – I'm looking at something that's really ugly right now.

SMITH: It is ugly. And history tells us that when a group of people feel so helpless-

GUTFELD: They don't riot when they feel helpless. Not everybody riots, Shep.

SMITH: Eventually – they don't. But eventually history tells us they do. That's what's happened in all of the social uprisings across this country. The bad days, when we look at this rioting, that's about people who are coming in to take advantage of a situation. But the situation, the argument can be made, would never have happened had they gotten some answers about how a man in government custody, in this particular instance, ended up dead instead of not under arrest. That's what presents them with this opportunity. Today they had their opportunity and authorities were not ready to stop it and the mayor came up and said let's give them some space to do what they do. Well, you know, here we are. And now – but now it's about to be real serious.

(...)

5:36 PM ET

BOLLING: Hey, Shep, Julie asked about the governor, but we also – at least I haven't heard anything from any civil rights leaders, have you?

SMITH: I heard Alveda King on a little while ago on our air telling her to get people home, that this is not a way to solve any problems. But it seems like in the middle of all of this to start picking on people for civil rights and what they're saying and what they're not saying, we could spend our time watching this and reporting on it as we have street after street-

BOLLING: I don't know, Shep. I don't know, I think it might be a nice idea, nice timing for one of the higher profile civil rights leaders – who tend to come in after the fact and say, "Look how bad things are with the police officers"...

SMITH: I'm sure it would and I'm guessing they're all watching.  

BOLLING: ...but if they came in now during the thing, saying, "Hey, let's call for peace, let's have some calm here."

SMITH: That's a wonderful idea. I'm confident they're all watching and will, on your instruction, do exactly that.

(...)

5:38 PM ET

GUTFELD: You mentioned parents. Where are the parents?

SMITH: Well, you know, I've not been on the phone with them. But if we want to sit here and indict the civil rights community and indict the parents for what we're watching right now, instead of for now just covering what happens and then later talk about whose fault it is, because we don't know whose fault it is.

BOLLING: Shep – can I just jump in, Shep. No one's indicting anyone. We're watching the pictures, we're asking legitimate questions. A lot of our viewers are probably asking the same questions.

SMITH: Bolling, the question was, "Where are the parents?" Surely you don't expect me to know that.

BOLLING: No, my question was...

GUTFELD: I agree, Shep. It was a hypothetical.

BOLLING: ...where are the civil rights leaders? Where's Al Sharpton, where's Jesse Jackson? Where are the other high-profile?

SMITH: You know what? I also don't know where they are. We've got a major American city that has decades of turmoil within this neighborhood. Decades. You heard the stories from Doug McKelway a little while ago of people being arrested for nothing, of a violent crackdown for years and years, of them feeling powerless and hopeless and nobody listening to what they were saying. One-quarter of the youth locked up. Clearly there is a big problem. Then all of a sudden an African-American man is taken into a vehicle and he comes out of it and dies and you get nothing from authorities except a suspension. And then those who would do harm take an opportunity to do harm and here we are. But it's what has happened between all of that and today that has led to this. There is no escaping that reality.

(...)

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