Shepard Smith leaves Fox News Channel

NEW YORK (AP) — Shepard Smith, whose newscast on Fox News Channel seemed increasingly an outlier on an outlet dominated by supporters of President Donald Trump, abruptly quit after signing off his final newscast on Friday.

Smith, who had signed a contract extension last spring, said that he had asked the network to let him out of his deal and it had agreed.

“Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive,” he said.

His departure comes one day after Attorney General William Barr met privately with media mogul Rupert Murdoch, founder of Fox News, although Smith’s representatives cautioned against conflating the two events.

Trump has been increasingly critical of personalities on Fox News that he views as disloyal. On Thursday, the president cited Smith and Fox analysts Andrew Napolitano and Donna Brazile in a tweet that said, “Fox News doesn’t deliver for US anymore. It is so different than it used to be.”

Neil Cavuto, who anchors the broadcast following Smith’s, looked shocked after the announcement.

“Whoa,” Cavuto said. “Like you, I’m a little stunned.”

Smith was one of Fox News Channel’s original hires in 1996, and was a particular favorite of Roger Ailes, the former Fox chairman who was ousted in 2016 following misconduct charges and died the following spring. While he often angered many of Fox’s conservative viewers, Smith’s work was most prominently cited by the network when it received criticism for being too partisan.

On his afternoon newscast, Smith had frequently given tough reports debunking statements made by Trump and his supporters — even the Fox News opinion hosts that rule the network’s prime-time lineup.

Two weeks ago, Smith clashed with Tucker Carlson that started when Napolitano, speaking on Smith’s program, said that it was a crime for Trump to solicit aid for his campaign from a foreign government, in this case Ukraine. Later that night, Carlson asked his own analyst, Joseph diGenova, about that and he called Napolitano a fool.

The next day, Smith said that “attacking our colleague who is here to offer legal assessments, on our air, in our work home, is repugnant.”

In an interview with Time magazine in March 2018, Smith said that “they don’t really have any rules on the opinion side.

“They can say whatever they want,” he said. “Some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining. I get that. I don’t work there. I wouldn’t work there.”

On a broadcast in July, Smith called out Trump over his “misleading and xenophobic eruption” of criticism aimed at a group of Democratic congresswoman who are minorities, saying the president’s remarks were part of a pattern of distraction and division.

“The news department (at Fox) has just taken a huge hit with the loss of Shep,” said Carl Cameron, a longtime former reporter at Fox. “For journalists like Chris Wallace and Bret Baier, it’s going to get even harder.”

Smith, 55, said he is not retiring, although his agreement with Fox will forbid him from working elsewhere “at least in the near future.”

Fox said that a news broadcast would continue in its 3 p.m. ET hour with rotating substitute anchors.

Associated Press correspondents Mark Kennedy, Alicia Rancilio and Jake Coyle contributed to this report.


INDOT spring, summer road work to limit travel on I-65, I-70

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Sections of Interstates 65 and 70 will have construction projects that will restrict traffic from April-November, the Indiana Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

Most of the central Indiana projects will be in the Indianapolis area. In most of the weather-dependent projects, traffic will be shifted to one side of the interstate, usually creating two lanes in each direction. The other side of the interstate will be shut down completely as contractors work. 

Outside of Marion County from April-December, patching and resurfacing will limit traffic on I-70 from Post Road in Indianapolis to the Indiana-Ohio state line. One lane will be open in each direction at all times during the summer. There will be ramp closings. Contractors will work in multiple 10-mile zones in one direction at a time. 

Here are the Indianapolis area projects:

Interstate 65 at Keystone Avenue: A bridge will be replaced from April-November. Southbound lanes will initially be rerouted onto northbound lanes. Three lanes will be available in each direction during rush hours, but only two lanes at other times.

Interstate 70 from I-456 on the east side to Post Road: Night and weekend lane restrictions will occur from April-October.

Interstate 65 at Southport Road: A bridge will be replaced from May-November. Three lanes will be open in each direction. The ramp onto I-65 northbound will be closed.

Interstate 70 from I-465 on west side to downtown South Split: Eastbound lanes will be closed from May 26-July 3. Westbound lanes will be closed from Aug. 3-Sept. 4. There will be ramp closings and local street closings as well.

Interstate 70 from downtown north split to I-465 on the east side: Eastbound lanes will be closed from May 26-July 3. Westbound lanes will be closed Aug. 3 to Sept. 4. During the closings, a limited number of lanes will be maintained in each direction.

Interstate 70 from Post Road in Indianapolis to Mount Comfort Road in Hancock County: Eastbound lanes will be closed from May 26-July 3. Westbound lanes will be closed Aug. 3-Sept. 4. During the closings, a limited number of lanes will be maintained in each direction.

Interstate 70 from Ronald Reagan Parkway to State Road 267 in Plainfield: From June-October westbound lanes will be closed for patching. In the usual eastbound lanes, three lanes will be designated as eastbound and two lanes as westbound. Also, the ramp from State Road 267 to I-70 eastbound will be closed.