Juan Who? NPR Says Shepard Smith Quitting Fox Looks Like a 'Purge Based on Purity'

October 12th, 2019 10:20 AM

NPR's longtime loathing of Fox News approached Maximum Shamelessness on Friday night when NPR anchor Ari Shapiro suggested that Shepard Smith abruptly leaving Fox looked like "a purge based on purity." As if NPR has a pile of conservatives on staff for balance? 

In 2010, NPR fired Juan Williams for an appearance on Fox where he admitted he gets nervous when people wear Muslim garb on airplanes. Was that a purity purge? NPR's liberal base couldn't stand that Williams (and Mara Liasson) regularly appeared on Fox.

ARI SHAPIRO: So I think many people are going to see this as a purge based on purity, whether at the specific direction of the White House and its allies, or just the strong implication. How accurate is that?

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, NPR MEDIA REPORTER: I think it's more about the dynamic. You know, look. The Attorney General Bill Barr met last night with Rupert Murdoch, the controlling owner of Fox News and its parent company. This is said to have been in the works prior to that and is said not to be a result of that. But it's a sign of the kind of closeness. The Murdochs have basically gone, at least to date, almost all in on Trump. Rupert Murdoch doesn't have a ton of respect for the president, and yet at the same -- knows him from New York, but at the same time felt like he would have an entree like he's never had before with United States president. And that has been the case.

Well, this tension between somebody journalistic, like Shep Smith, you've seen this also with Chris Wallace, the host of Fox News Sunday, a tough-minded journalist and interviewer, as well. This tension has been heightened by the impeachment crisis that the president is currently facing.

Does NPR think they are "tough-minded" and "journalistic" when Democrats win the White House? President Obama routinely granted long, super-sympathetic interviews with NPR Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, what we called the "Morning Cuddle." In 2015, he compared Obama to Eisenhower (!) as he played along with Obama's notion that  the people -- and the media -- were not understanding his argument that ISIS wasn't a serious threat. 

But Folkenflik, author of the book Murdoch's World, insisted journalism and hostility went hand in hand: "You had Shep Smith, an independent voice, a guy who saw himself as a journalist and also was somebody who had been kind of skeptical, a guy who had offered fact checks on the president, somebody who'd called out the questions of norms that had been shattered by this president.

Shapiro began the segment: "Shepard Smith was one of the few voices on Fox News that had been willing to challenge President Trump. Today the 55-year-old chief anchor at Fox abruptly resigned, saying it had been an honor and a privilege to report the news without fear or favor."

The notion that Shep Smith didn't take a side is just as ridiculous as The New York Times when it used the motto "without fear or favor."