Donald Trump Jr. has spent most of this past week trying to spin his attempt to get Russian-flavored opposition research on Hillary Clinton, with the help of his father and the White House media machine. That campaign is failing–bigly. Any doubt of that should have been erased when we saw that even right-leaning networks and Websites are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to defend it.
But the principal anchorman on the right’s favorite network has gone further. He publicly called out the changing official account of this meeting for what it was–a steaming pile of lies.
Shepard Smith has long been one of the few people on Fox News Channel who isn’t willing to parrot this administration’s alternative facts. But he took it to another level on Friday afternoon, while discussing the latest developments in Donald Jr.’s apparent collusion with Russian interests with Chris Wallace. Watch here.
Smith ticked off the people who were confirmed as being at the meeting as he went to air–Donald Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, her interpreter, and counterintelligence officer-turned-lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin. From where Smith was sitting, “the tide has turned,” and there’s no way for anyone to credibly deny that there’s a there there.
Wallace agreed, saying that with the news of what at the very least is “attempted collusion,” the Trump camp can no longer credibly argue that the Russia story is fake news. While it’s possible that nothing came from this meeting, it’s impossible to look “in black and white” at those emails and deny that there was “at the very least attempted collusion.”
Smith said that in light of this, “the lies–one after another, after another, after another” should be taken into account by any responsible reporter or any concerned voter. Wallace agreed, saying that any “fair-minded citizen,” regardless of party, should be concerned that “we were repeatedly misled” about that meeting. He added that we should also be concerned that “we haven’t gotten to the end of the story.”
Literally seconds later, Smith passed on a flash from Fox News’ John Roberts–there was an eighth person at Trump Tower that day, a mystery Russian. This latest disclosure was yet more proof that “we’re still not clean” about what happened in that meeting. And then he took off the gloves.
“If there’s nothing there–and that’s what they tell us, they tell us there’s nothing to this and nothing came of it, there’s a nothing burger, it wasn’t even memorable. Didn’t write it down, didn’t tell you about it because it wasn’t anything, so I didn’t even remember it with a Russian interpreter in the room at Trump Tower. If all of that, why all these lies? Why is it lie after lie after lie? If you clean, come on clean, you know?”
Smith went on to say that even in the face of evidence that the Trump camp has engaged in “mind-boggling” deceit, there are still a few diehards who think “we’re making it up.” When the scales fall off those diehards’ eyes, they’re going to wonder, “Where are we? Why are we getting told all these lies?”
Wallace believed there was “a lot of truth” to Smith’s rant. He didn’t understand how the Trump camp couldn’t have seen that this story was going to blow at some point. He believed that Trump should have his inner circle sit down and write down any and all contacts they had with Russians and get it out in the open. Even though it’s not clear whether laws were broken, it’s clear that “we were misled a number of times repeatedly” about this situation.
You’ll notice that Wallace sat there silently for a few seconds after Smith unloaded on the Trump camp. No doubt he recalled Walter Cronkite’s famous editorial in February 1968 in which he declared that the Vietnam War was unwinnable, and it was time to go to the bargaining table. Watch a clip here.
Within a month, Lyndon Johnson announced he would not seek a second full term. Years later, Cronkite recalled that Bill Moyers–then an assistant to LBJ–claimed that when his boss watched a clip of Cronkite’s editorial and said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”
Sadly, Smith’s decision to call out Trump is having the opposite effect. He has never been a favorite of the fair and balanced network’s diehards due to his willingness to call out Trump. So it came as no surprise that Twitter lit up with Trump supporters who were outraged at this latest outbreak of actual journalism.
— JohnWickofPolitics (@Gingrich_of_PA) July 15, 2017
Shepard Smith is an absolute whack job. He wears entirely too much make up and he's a liberal moron. Get this guy off the air already!
— Mike (@mike_Zollo) July 14, 2017
Anti-Trump, Shepard Smith is a Fungus !!
— 💎STOCK MONSTER💎 (@StockMonsterUSA) July 15, 2017
Fox News needs to fire lying Shepard Smith. He should take his Russian conspiracy theories to the #FraudNewsNetwork CNN.
— Makada 🇺🇸 (@_Makada_) July 15, 2017
— Patrick Henry (@FightNowAmerica) July 15, 2017
Fox News must get rid of Shepard Smith. This closet liberal should go to CNN or MSNBC.
RT if you agree! pic.twitter.com/kgTauozPu1
— Pamela Moore (@Pamela_Moore13) July 15, 2017
Chris Wallace & Shepard Smith are.shilling for the Dems. Sad
— Peggy Farber (@peggy_farber) July 14, 2017
Shep Smith and Chris Wallace are so unhinged right now about Trump/Russia conspiracies. All these two clowns talk about.
— Asa J 🇺🇸 (@asamjulian) July 15, 2017
In an apparent attempt to appease that anger, Sean Hannity opened Friday’s show by claiming that if anyone was guilty of collusion, it was Democrats–working hand in glove with the media.
Never mind that we now have an email exchange in which Donald Jr. practically jumped at the chance to get dirt on Hillary–even if it came from a hostile foreign power. Even by Fox News standards, this rant from Hannity is embarrassing.
Smith was merely doing what any good journalist is supposed to do–call a spade a spade. That’s something that should be applauded heartily.
(featured image courtesy Smith’s Facebook)