Former Fox News host Shep Smith, without naming names, called out autocrats who spread fake news in his first public comments since his shock departure from the widely watched conservative network last month.
“Intimidation and vilification of the press is now a global phenomenon. We don’t have to look far for evidence of that,” Smith said at the International Press Freedom Awards in New York City.
“Our belief a decade ago that the online revolution would liberate us now seems a bit premature, doesn’t it?” asked Smith, who hosted the event.
“Autocrats have learned how to use those same online tools to shore up their power,” he added. “They flood the world of information with garbage and lies, masquerading as news. There’s a phrase for that.”
Check out Smith’s comments here:
Smith joined Fox on its launch in 1996 but in latter years clashed with the network’s pro-Trump pundits over his critical reporting on Trump. Smith even drew anger from Trump himself, who disparagingly called him Fox’s “lowest-rated anchor.”
Smith also announced a $500,000 donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists at the event. “We know that journalists are sometimes wary of being perceived as activists for some cause,” he said, per The New York Times. “But press freedom is not the preserve of one political group or one political party. It’s a value embedded in our very foundational documents. Journalists need to join hands to defend it.”