Bill Keller, who announced yesterday that he’s stepping down later this summer as Executive Editor of The New York Times, got a mouthful from Fox News anchor Shepard Smith.
Smith, the guest speaker at a New York Press Club event last week, was asked by moderator, WCBS Radio’s Rich Lamb about Keller’s criticism of Fox News. Smith, once again, drew a distinction between the news he reports and the kind of talk FNC’s opinion hosts engage in.
Rich Lamb: “A few months ago in this very room – you might have heard about it – NY Times executive editor, Bill Keller, had a few choice remarks about FOX News Channel. I don’t know if you heard these quotes, but as Keller put it on March 3rd, I think if you’re a regular viewer of Fox News, you’re among the ‘most cynical people on planet earth. I cannot think of a more cynical slogan than ‘Fair and Balanced’”. I want to get your personal reaction to that:
Shepard Smith: “My goal and the goal of every journalist I know every day of your life is to be fair and to be balanced and to bring context and perspective. And if Bill Keller doesn’t think I’m not succeeding on a daily basis, he has my phone number. I don’t enjoy being insulted by people who talk in generalities. My guess is that the
people on his opinion page don’t get that kind of broad and sweeping review. He has some very outspoken people on that page, and they are respected. And we have some outspoken opinion people, and he chooses to paint all of us with the same brush. We have journalists just like he does. And I’ve worked very hard my whole life to try to remain exactly that. I did it when I worked for [local stations in Florida] CBS and I did it when I worked for ABC and I’m doing it now. And, if someday I’m doing it for somebody else, I’ll do it there. Journalists know what we do. We find out about things. We give them context and perspective and we report on them. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do in 25 years in this business. That’s all I’m ever going to do. That’s all Roger Ailes wants me to do. And I hope that’s what Bill Keller wants out of his journalists, just like Roger Ailes wants out of his. It’s not nice.“
(Photo: Courtesy/NY Press Club)