A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Sunday, September 25, 2005

"Just stick to the facts"

I found a great article about Fox News' reporter Shepard Smith via RightNation. Of course, the article's author, David Bauder, gets in a little Sean Hannity bashing. I guess Bauder could handle only so much praise for someone at Fox.

Albany Times-Union: Fox News Channel's Smith buoys reputation---

NEW YORK -- Much like a youthful Dan Rather made a name for himself with stellar coverage of a Gulf Coast hurricane two generations ago, Fox News Channel's Shepard Smith opened some eyes with his work in the face of a powerful and blustery force.

And we're not just talking about Hurricane Hannity.

Smith's passionate reportage from a New Orleans highway overpass clogged with the sick and dying won critical praise, helped renew interest in his nightly newscast and earned him his first visit to David Letterman's couch. Letterman's people called even before Smith's memorable exchange with talk show host Sean Hannity.

Fox's chief anchor will increase his profile even more with a nightly radio newscast that begins airing Monday on more than 260 Fox affiliates.
Rightly or wrongly, journalists at Fox run the risk of being associated with an opinion lineup that leans right, said Charlotte Grimes, a professor at Syracuse University. Fordham's Levinson has always liked Smith's work, and the professor suspects this is why he's sometimes laughed at when he suggests Smith belongs in the upper echelon of anchors.

Even his "Late Show" appearance on Labor Day seemed a little like a test. Letterman prodded Smith about whether the Bush administration was to blame for the Katrina response; Smith said it wasn't his job to lay specific blame.

"He separated himself from the competition and what is seen as Fox's political conservatism and pro-administration policy and called them as he saw them as a journalist," Grimes said. "That has to help raise your credibility as a journalist. It gives you respect."

Smith said he hoped people recognized that Fox's news division is just that, a news division.

"I didn't get into this to be an advocacy journalist," he said. "I think our job is to tell people what's going on and let them make their decisions on how to react to things based on the facts and just the facts. It's a very difficult world we live in, in this business, to just stick to the facts, and I try very hard to do that."
Do read the rest of the article.

Shep did get emotional while reporting from Louisiana. While I don't think reporters ought to allow their emotions to affect their reporting, I think Shep can be forgiven here. He's from the south, so he was talking about his own part of the country.

I hope we get that nightly radio newscast. :)