Fox News manages its programming blocks on the basis of a loose federalism: Depending on what time you tune in to the No. 1 cable news provider, you’ll find differing takes on President Trump and his White House. Early mornings? Putrid Trump sycophancy from the Fox & Friends crew. Mid-morning? Much better coverage from the likes of Bill Hemmer and Shannon Bream. Prime time? Lots of very creative defences of our 45th president.
On his own island resides Fox News host Shepard Smith, who anchors the 3pm hour from his space-age news deck. Since the beginning of the year, Smith has ripped Trump for attempting to delegitimise CNN and for complaining about media non-coverage of certain unspecified terror attacks.
Then came today. Smith saw fit to cover the story of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s Justice Department filing disclosing that he’d done $530,000 of lobbying work during the 2016 campaign that “may have aided the Turkish government”, according to an Associated Press scoop. Flynn was fired from the Trump administration after misleading Vice President Pence about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States before the inauguration.
In introducing AP reporter Julie Bykowicz, who contributed to the scoop, Smith went off:
Julie, the White House says, ‘Ah, he was a private citizen at the time.’ But there’s been a lot of lying, Julie. And - there’s been a lot of lying, there’s been lying about who you talk to, and by lots of people and almost inevitably and invariably, they were lying about talking to the Russians, about something. It’s too much lying and too much Russia and too much smoke. And now they’re investigating. Where are we in this thing?
From the looks of things, Smith doesn’t share the qualms of other news outlets with respect to the appropriateness of a certain inflammatory one-syllable English word.
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