- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 12, 2019

Longtime anchorman Shepard Smith left Fox News suddenly on Friday with little notice, ending a 23-year career at the No. 1-rated cable news network, and stunning many of his associates.

Hours after Mr. Smith’s announcement, journalists asked President Trump to weigh in on the media matter in an exchange which appeared to add to the mystery of the situation.

“President Trump was no fan of Fox News anchor Shepard Smith. And the news that Smith is leaving the network seemed to make the president’s day. Speaking outside the White House en route to a rally in Louisiana, the president mocked the departing Fox News anchor,” noted Mediaite.com.

Here’s how the conversation went on the South Lawn of the White House:

“Mr. President, did you or your administration pressure Fox News to get rid of Shepard Smith?” asked one reporter, according to the White House transcript of the exchange.



“No, I don’t know. Is he leaving?” Mr. Trump replied.

“He’s leaving.”

“Oh, that’s a shame.” Mr. Trump commented.

“Then why did Bill Barr meet with Rupert Murdock the other night?” the reporter asked.

“That I don’t know. Wait. Did I hear Shepard Smith is leaving?” Mr. Trump repeated.

“Yes.”

“Is he leaving because of bad ratings?” the president asked.

“You’d have to ask him,” the reporter replied.

“Tell me. I don’t know. He has terrible ratings. Is he leaving because of his ratings? I mean, if he’s leaving, I assume he is leaving because he had bad ratings,” the president said.

“But you didn’t put any pressure on anybody?” the reporter asked.

“He had the worst ratings on Fox, so there’s a reason. Why is Shepard Smith leaving? Well, I wish him well,” Mr. Trump said.

“The Attorney General — the Attorney General meeting with Rupert?” the reporter pressed again.

“I wish Shepard Smith well,” Mr. Trump said, ending the exchange.

And what abut those ratings? According to Nielsen Media Research, Shepard Smith Reporting averaged 1.3 million total viewers and nearly 200,000 in the all-important 25-54 year old demographic. The program has outpaced the competition by double-digits in both total viewers and demo in the 3 p.m. ET hour. Fox News daytime hours from 9 a.m. -4 p.m. ET regularly average 1.3 million in total viewers and 223,000 in the younger demographic.

At the Louisiana campaign rally on Friday, Mr. Trump had positive things to say about Fox News.

“Thank God we have them on our side,” the president told his audience.

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