“They don’t really have rules on the opinion side. They can say whatever they want,” said Smith, a Fox News anchor and host of “Shepard Smith Reporting.” “Some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining. I get that. I don’t work there. I wouldn’t work there.”
Hannity responded in a tweet that he is too a journalist and writes “REAL NEWS” (his emphasis). Smith is “clueless about what we do every day,” complained Hannity, adding that “Hannity breaks news daily.” He listed stories he has worked on — such as “abuse” of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — that would likely not change Smith’s opinion.
But Hannity himself is clearly conflicted about whether or not he’s a newsman or an entertainer. On his own radio show in 2016, he declared: “I’m not a journalist; I’m a talk show host.” That was his explanation after he was criticized for going too easy in an interview on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
He told The New York Times the same year: “I never claimed to be a journalist.”
The next year, he said he was a journalist — with an explanation. “I’m an advocacy journalist, or an opinion journalist,” he told the Times. That wouldn’t fit Smith’s definition of a journalist.
Laura Ingraham, another of the hosts on the Fox News opinion side of Smith’s ledger, also piped in with a dig at Smith, calling his comments “inconsiderate” and “inaccurate.” She said people on her program, “Ingraham Angle,” do “real reporting” and “score big interviews.”
Smith announced Friday on “Shepard Smith Reporting” that he was taking a “previously planned” weeklong vacation, The Hill reported. He joked that when he returns, “everything will be peachy-keen and hunky-dory” — apparently in reference to the simmering feud with Hannity. He added: “I can’t wait.”
“Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace, who was on the show with Smith, quipped, “That’s what they always say: previously planned and one week vacation.”
Fox announced Thursday that it has signed Smith to a new multi-year contract as chief news anchor and managing editor of breaking news but did not reveal the terms of the agreement.