Shepard Smith spoke for the first time publicly since his stunning departure from Fox News on Friday, Oct. 11.
The former Fox Newser served as host of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Press Freedom Awards dinner in New York this evening. Among his remarks was a not so subtle jab at Pres. Trump.
“Our belief a decade ago that the online revolution would liberate us now seems a bit premature, doesn’t it?” Smith said, according to the New York Times. “Autocrats have learned how to use those same online tools to shore up their power. They flood the world of information with garbage and lies, masquerading as news. There’s a phrase for that.”
He added: “We know that journalists are sometimes wary of being perceived as activists for some cause,” Smith said. “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.”
On a more positive note, Smith also announced a whopping $500,000 donation to the CPJ.
One of Fox News Channel’s original hires in 1996, Smith was the face of the network’s news operation for decades. He had covered virtually every major news story over the course of his career at Fox, as both a correspondent and an anchor.
We heard that he didn’t not address his departure from FNC nor did he disclose next steps.
We named Smith one of our “30 Most Impactful TV Newsers of the Past 15 Years,” back in January. We asked the veteran TV news journalist what he felt the biggest way that the news industry had changed the past decade and a half, here’s what he had to tell us:
There have been far too many consequential changes to list here. But I’ll explain what I tell students and young professionals who pass through the newsroom: The only constant in this business is change. When I was just starting out, we ripped wire reports from printers in the newsroom. Then the Internet changed how we communicate. Everything moved at the speed of light (or more realistically, at your 28.8 kbps modem connection.) More recently, Twitter and various mining/aggregator websites have done it again. The college graduates today (like all of us) have no idea what the next 15 years will hold. All anyone can do is be ready for change. And that’s part of what makes it all so exciting.