Former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith refused to play clips from this week’s presidential debate to open the premiere episode of his new CNBC show on Wednesday.
Smith instead condemned the raucous exchange between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, telling his audience, “And right now, on a brand new newscast, we’d normally play the best sound and video from the debate, right? That’s the lead — the back-and-forth between the president and the man who wants to replace him. And then we show and tell you what else we face as a nation, because there’s a lot.”
Explaining how he would normally introduce his program with a flashy, compelling recap, Smith said he chose not to do so for the debate because “as it turns out, in this moment, that’s just the noise,” adding, “You’ve heard it, and we need to cut through it.”
“Truth is, there’s never been such a thing as last night,” Smith continued. “A first official introduction of the two candidates from the committee on presidential debates follows rules. It’s dignified, democratic, structured, American — not last night. That debate cannot be measured by traditional X’s and O’s, regardless of how you’ll vote.”
Before going to CNBC's Eamon Javers, Shep Smith concludes his commentary: "We've never seen any of this, not in America but from this, we March toward the vote and tonight, we'll lay out the facts to the best of our ability in context and with perspective." (2/2) pic.twitter.com/SC8m6YGcoQ
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) September 30, 2020
“Let’s mark this moment, last night the president called into question the heart of our democracy, the peaceful transition of power,” Smith said. “Is there assurance that it will happen? Asked to give it, the president declined and openly sowed the seeds of distrust on the outcome. If there’s no clear winner on Election Night, what’s the process? What’s the Constitution say? We’ll report on that, and our presidential historian will offer clarity, perspective. In the debate, the president told a group of white supremacists, some of whom stood by in Charlottesville with their torches to ‘stand back and stand by.'”
Smith chided Biden for his behavior, too, saying, “Joe Biden declared the duly elected president of the United States unfit to lead, called him a racist, a liar, a clown, and told him to shut up. We’ve never seen any of this, not in America, but from this, we march toward the vote, and tonight, we’ll lay out the facts to the best of our ability in context and with perspective.”
Smith quit his primetime show on Fox News in October 2019 after more than two decades at the network. He signed a deal for a one-hour program on CNBC in July, saying at the time that he was “honored to continue to pursue the truth, both for CNBC’s loyal viewers and for those who have been following my reporting for decades in good times and in bad.” He went on to praise CNBC for having a “vision for a fact-based, hourlong evening news program with the mission to cut through the static to deliver facts, in context and with perspective.”
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