Fox News anchor Shepard Smith angers Trump supporters by attacking president over Russia and treatment of media
Russia and 'fake news' dominates Trump press conference
17 February 2017 • 6:13am
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith has angered supporters of Donald Trump after he attacked the president for his treatment of CNN and for dismissing questions about his campaign team's contacts with Russia. The president has often lauded Fox News for its coverage and two of its stars, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, have been supportive of Mr Trump.
But after the president launched his latest attack on the media in a press conference on Thursday, Smith jumped to the defence of the rival broadcaster. Describing CNN's White House correspondent Jim Acosta as a "good reporter", Smith said: "It's crazy what we're watching every day.
"It's absolutely crazy. He keeps repeating ridiculous, throwaway lines that are not true at all and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia as if we're some kind of fools for asking the question. Really? Your opposition was hacked and the Russians were responsible for it and your people were on the phone with Russia on the same day it was happening and we're fools for asking the questions? No sir." "We have a right to know," Smith added. "You call us fake news and put us down like children for asking questions on behalf of the American people."
Smith's comments riled some viewers, just as Megyn Kelly sparked social media anger when she was critical of the Republican. "BOYCOTT Shepard Smith on FOX News. FOX News, please dump Shepard Smith. He's ruining your newscast. Signed, "We The People"," @ChiappiJr tweeted. Another, @JonCuttingMAGA, said: "Shepard Smith should be fired. Left are professional victims. Offending them comes w/ the territory. #Trump gets it. Stay offensive#MAGA." Likening him to Kelly, @TEN_GOP tweeted: "Shepard Smith becomes new Megyn Kelly. RT if you'd like to see Fox News get rid of him."
However, Smith's comments, which spread quickly on the internet, also earned praise on social media. "Watching Shepard Smith go at Trump for his #TrumpPressConference performance was beautiful. Hannity must be having a coronary," @CMAntosayshey said. @UltimateBrum tweeted: "Wow. Fox News criticising Trump is huge. More importantly, Shepard Smith is absolutely correct." "Not often I'll support a Fox anchor - but Shepard Smith deserves some love," @CorrPearce said.
Mr Trump has come under growing pressure to explain his campaign's alleged contacts with Russia but remained defiant when pressed in an extraordinary news conference on Thursday. Dismissing the growing controversy as a "ruse" and "scam" perpetrated by a hostile news media, he denied any of his associates had contacts with Moscow before last year's election. "The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake," Mr Trump told the news conference, referring to media reports that his presidential campaign team had contacts with Russian intelligence officials. He mostly blamed the media for his woes, rebuffing suggestions that he was undermining confidence in the press or threatening the First Amendment by trying to convince the nation that "the press honestly is out of control." "The press has become so dishonest that if we don't talk about, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people" he said. "Tremendous disservice." Smith appeared to be a lone critical voice on the channel. A few minutes after the press conference, Bret Baier said on Fox News that Mr Trump's "mesmerising" performance was an illustration of why people had supported him. "There are people who are going to say that it was unhinged, or their heads are going to explode at something he said, but this is Trump being Trump," Mr Baier said.
Donald Trump has on air dispute with Buzzfeed
Mr Trump has attacked CNN on a frequent basis and refused to take a question from CNN's Jim Acosta at a news conference in January after the network aired highly-damaging and unverified accusations about his behaviour in Russia. When CNN’s White House correspondent attempted to ask a question, Mr Trump told him: “Your organisation is terrible. Quiet. He's asking a question, don't be rude. Don't be rude. Your organisation is terrible. I'm not going to give you a question. I'm not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”