We make an effort here at Culture War Reporters to not only decry travesties but to celebrate advances in art, politics, music, and media. And in this day and age, the presence of an honest journalist isn’t so much an advancement as it is a flippin’ miracle. That such a journalist should emerge from the McCarthyite dystopia that is FOX News is more baffling still.
But lo and behold-
Shep ****ing Smith.
Now granted- Smith’s been around for a while. His career as a journalist started clear back in 1985, and Shep’s been a top-rated newsman since the mid-90s. Still, it would be a decade later, during the “war on terror” that a change seemed to occur.
What (if anything) prompted it, I do not know. When exactly it happened- who can say? Perhaps it had been building for a while, but whatever it was, Shep Smith frickin’ lost it.
In the best possible way.
Now that clip was from 2009, by which time the debate on America’s use of torture (“enhanced interrogation”, to use the official term for it) had already been going on for some time. Again, the exact causes of Shep’s outburst are a mystery to me, but it really doesn’t matter.
This, people. This is the kind of stuff we need more of.
Moral outrage and indignation yolked with reason, blasted directly to the faces of those who’d obscure and whitewash the truth. No kid gloves, no spoon-feeding.
And to be fair, Shep Smith is human, and not without his own biases.
But I actually don’t have any issue with that.
Realistically, I don’t think there’s a way for any one of us to totally prevent our own perspectives and values from bleeding into our work. So long as we’re upfront about it and willing to admit when we’re wrong, it should be all good.
In other words, the reverse of Don Lemon.
In fact, I think Smith really and truly does serve as a foil to his CNN counterpart. Lemon (as we can see from his “interview” with Donald Trump) has no problem letting his guests slide on hard questions. Smith, on the other hand, goes after ’em with the viciousness of a starved hyena:
Lemon is notorious for refusing to admit mistakes on his part. Smith, alternatively, has provided some of the most genuine and heartfelt apologies you’ll ever see from anyone in the media:
Lemon’s an entertainer posing as a journalist. Smith’s a journalist who happens to be entertaining (even if he does have a kinda creepy obsession with HBO’s True Blood):
I could go on and on here, so allow me to submit this montage instead:
Now at this point you all might be thinking:
“But Gordon- you unrelenting foot-soldier of reason in a world gone mad- while Shep Smith might be a decent reporter, is that really something to celebrate? Haven’t you yourself remarked that acting with basic human decency should be an expectation, rather than a rarity to be lauded?”
Very true indeed, dear readers- but I’d like to remind you all that Shep Smith is working for FOX News. In spite of the impression you’d get from those clips, FOX News is still very much an open septic tank of sensationalism, bigotry, and misinformation. When you see Shep Smith provide sensible words like this:
Remember that this is the junk his colleagues have been regurgitating for the past months:
So yeah, integrity shouldn’t be celebrated, but when it’s surrounded by some of the worst species of deceit and propaganda, it should definitely be acknowledged.
For that, Mr. Smith, we thank you. Keep fightin’ the good fight.