On Friday, Fox News viewers were shocked to learn that chief news anchor Shepard Smith was leaving after decades with the network. While Smith announced that it was his own decision to leave, not everyone accepted his statement.
One progressive commentator, Danielle Moodie-Mills, theorized that Smith was forced to resign by the Trump White House.
Moodie-Mills, a co-host of the anti-Trump “Democracy-ish” podcast, advocated her unverified theory on Friday evening’s edition of MSNBC’s “The Beat with Ari Melber.”
“One of the questions here,” began Melber, “is whether implicitly or explicitly, the government is dictating programming.”
“It is explicit. The government is dictating program,” Moodie-Mills hastily replied. “Fox News has turned into state television. It is Trump TV.”
As evidence, Moodie-Mills referred to the recent news that Attorney General William Barr met with Fox owner Rupert Murdoch.
“The reality is that why is William Barr, who is the Attorney General of the United States, going to meet with Rupert Murdoch?” she asked. “Why is that something he is doing? Was there something that was happening with Fox News and the American people that he was going to talk about or was he going to talk about the fact that the polls came out and Trump didn’t like what he saw?”
Barr met Murdoch at his house after the network released a poll that found that a little over 50% of respondents were in favor of impeaching President Trump. But just because the poll preceded the meeting, of course, doesn’t mean that the poll caused the meeting.
Moodie-Mills, however, isn’t buying it. She believes the poll followed by the meeting followed by Smith’s resignation is just too coincidental.
“So now all of a sudden, a day after that meeting, he is gone and resigned out of nowhere, 23 years,” she said. “You know the media game. People don’t leave in the middle of their contract for no reason, right? Like you have to be pushed out or told to do something that then you decide, ‘You know what, maybe my integrity is too much at this point, and so I am going to walk away.'”
MSNBC pushes back
Before MSNBC got blasted for, once again, going too far down fantasy lane with its reporting, Melber felt the need to cap the segment off, saying, “I have to note as a reporter, of course, we’re reporting what Shep said today, which is that he asked to leave and that they asked him to stay. He pressed and left. I want to get that in there.”
Since then, a representative for Smith has also denied that the resignation was related to the Barr-Murdoch meeting.