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Shepard Smith: America Doesn’t Torture

I’m amused by Nico Pitney’s headline, “Shepard Smith Uncensored: “We Are America, We Do Not F**king Torture!” (VIDEO).”  Mostly because it censors Shepard Smith.

But the Left’s sudden embrace of Smith is interesting, too. It may have begun with this recent Esquire profile.

He has always managed to be a part of Fox and apart from it at the same time, and in 2008 he distinguished himself by treating Republicans as aggressively as Fox News normally treats Democrats — by seeming fed up with Republicans, and maybe with the strictures of Fox News itself. Now, in 2009, people are asking what’s up with Shep Smith as a way of asking what’s up with Fox — as way of asking how Fox is going to cover the news as it goes back to its oppositional role in the age of Obama.

“There has to be news at a place called Fox News,” he says, and he’s not the only one. It’s the mantra of the network, the fallback equation that — until the recent entrance of Glenn Beck, anyway — has enabled its employees to distinguish between the programming that takes place between nine in the morning and eight at night, which is called News, and the programming that takes over thereafter, which is called Opinion. “I think we do a pretty good job of labeling it for the viewer,” Shep says. “But we are under intense scrutiny because of our opinion shows. Are there people who want the news done a certain way? You bet there are, and some are in this building. But they don’t affect what I do. The inner pressure and outer pressure that everyone thinks exists doesn’t. When I hear people say that Fox News is right wing, I know that’s not true, because I’m the one doing the news. It’s my show, and there’s no place for opinion on my show. It’s uninteresting to me. I don’t care what Sean Hannity thinks and I don’t care what Alan Colmes thinks and I guarantee they don’t care what I think and they don’t know, either. You know what’s interesting to me? What’s interesting to me is that the thing people want to know about is the part on which I spend absolutely no time.”

My exposure to Smith was in the promos that came on during Brit Hume’s “Special Report,” which aired immediately prior to his show.  His bombastic style always struck me as clownish and I could therefore never take him seriously as a newsman.  Further, he came across as a huckster, so I always presumed that he’d deliver a Drudge-esque slant on the news.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Tlaloc says:

    Can I just say how nice it is not to watch any broadcast or cable TV? I quit back in 2003 or so. It was hard for the first month and since then I’ve been extremely happy with the decision. I do watch DVDs including of some of my favorite shows) but the difference is just staggering. No inundation of commercials every few minutes. No idiotic reality shows.

    The only time I see TV nowadays is when I go to my mother’s for family dinners. Each time reaffirms my belief that TV has gone massively down hill (and it’s never been exactly fine art).

    It does feel slightly odd to be getting more and more out of sync with popular culture, but I find I care less and less. That may just be a function of aging. Hey, you, get off my lawn!

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  2. Wayne says:

    Shepard is one of Fox’s left of center but not extreme left like Alan Colmes reporter. I didn’t care much for his Katrina coverage but he does seem honest and heartfelt about his coverage. He also can be reason with at times. So I like the guy even though I disagree with him often.

    That said, a big part of the “torture” issue is that the term torture is a hard word to put in a box. Also like many issues, there or the ideal ways and then there is the real world. In some peoples mind, the U.S. doesn’t spy they gather intelligence because the U.S. would never get dirt on their hands. In reality we need to spy, conduct harsh interrogation and some other not so savory acts. Should we like the fact that we do? No. Should we try to find alternatives if we can? Yes. Should we minimize instead of maximize the number of times we do it? Yes. Should we understand that there is a big difference between someone who does it only when they have to compare to the one who do it on a routine basis? Yes. Should we understand that in the real world sometime it is necessary? Yes.

    Oh one more thing, there is no real Easter bunny, Santa or tooth ferries.

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  3. G.A.Phillips says:

    But America does f–king torture, about a million babies every year, then we kill them, then we put them in the garbage!!!!!!!

    ask me who does we mean now, Do you know who I mean BY WE IN THIS STATEMENT, debo, or what ever your stupid name is?

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  4. FranklinTest says:

    Wayne, I presume you mean left of Fox’s center, because Shep is no liberal and Alan Colmes is best described as a moderate.

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  5. Derrick says:

    Wayne, I presume you mean left of Fox’s center, because Shep is no liberal and Alan Colmes is best described as a moderate.

    I was laughing at the same statement. I’m guessing Obama truly is a socialist to some of you, if you think that Colmes is a real liberal.

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  6. Wayne says:

    Alan is a moderate? Please. Granted he doesn’t scream and rant (all that much) as many liberals do but his views and comments come down 96% of the time on the left. I suppose you think Hillary Clinton and Al Franklin are moderates too.

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  7. An Interested Party says:

    Oh one more thing, there is no real Easter bunny, Santa or tooth ferries.

    Yes, and the Bush Administration did torture and the justifications being tossed around by some around here are about as fantastical as the Easter Bunny, Santa, or the Tooth Fairy…

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  8. Wayne says:

    Then Clinton torture as well.

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  9. An Interested Party says:

    Then Clinton torture as well.

    Not true…the Clinton Administration participated in renditions (which is also reprehensible)…but did not itself torture anyone…well, apart from all the right-wing loons who actually thought that Clinton might be removed from office because of Whitewater and/or Monica Lewinsky…

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  10. Tlaloc says:

    But America does f–king torture, about a million babies every year, then we kill them, then we put them in the garbage!!!!!!!

    You know, if people don’t listen to you, it helps to type harder on the keyboard. Try it out!

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  11. Wayne says:

    AIP
    I doubt you have any clue what type of interrogations happen under Clinton’s administration. Has the press investigated those years? No. Has Congress? No. Shouldn’t we have a baseline of interrogation techniques from those years to compare to Bush’s? Bush step up interrogations and Clinton did sit on his hands a lot but Clinton did some interrogations as well.

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  12. An Interested Party says:

    re: Wayne | April 24, 2009 | 11:02 am

    Do you have any proof to backup your speculation? Any at all? Or do you usually just make shit up as you go along…

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  13. vnohara says:

    America doesn’t torture

    Hence America can’t win war. Does this Smith think that the enemies will not torture him if they capture him? Did he not remember Berg or Pearl whose head was cut? His and Obama’s “making enemies friends help us win them over” make me laugh and puke at once. Why wasn’t Smith in their place?

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  14. Wayne says:

    Many of the Intel community use to practice their technique on us and some of those techniques were not all that nice. Sleep deprivation has been known to be widely used for quite some time. Can you really be so naive to think just because something has not been in a spot light or you weren’t aware of it that it wasn’t going on?

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  15. An Interested Party says:

    naiveteain…do you have any proof to back up your claims? What I am not aware of is why you feel the need to accuse the Clinton Administration of practicing torture as the Bush Administration did…the true naiveté is thinking that torture is an effective method of acquiring reliable information…

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  16. Wayne says:

    Naiveté is still claiming harsh interrogation and or torture doesn’t work. Bush unlike Obama didn’t release interrogation memos of his predecessors. My personal experience is enough proof for me but I understand if it isn’t for you. However even without releasing memos from the Clinton era, it wouldn’t be hard for any half decent reporter to find evidence of it. Why not investigate it unless you are afraid they will find something.

    The reason for looking at past administration is to determine if Bush administration did anything out of the ordinary. Besides if you are anything but a partisan hack and you want Bush administration officials to be prosecuted then you would want any administration officers Democrat or Republican prosecuted for the same action.

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  17. An Interested Party says:

    My personal experience is enough proof for me…

    Really, were you tortured? That would explain a lot…

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