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Fox’s Shepard Smith: Journalists ‘must never knowingly deceive’

A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

The divide between the Shep Smith side of Fox News and the Sean Hannity side of Fox was especially stark on Wednesday. Smith was in DC, accepting a First Amendment Award from RTDNF, while Hannity was on the air running defense for the president. I transcribed what Smith said during his acceptance speech. It is worth reading in full.

“Being accurate and honest and thorough and fair is our primary mission. It’s our professional calling. And everyone on my team takes it extremely seriously,” he said, referring to his “Shepard Smith Reporting” colleagues.

Smith recalled advice from one of his Old Miss journalism professors about telling the truth, no matter what. “I personally believe this is the duty not only of journalists but of every person who has the honor of a platform of influence,” he said. “We must never manipulate or invent. We must never knowingly deceive. Because to do so is a disservice to our audience and potentially injurious to our society.”

Smith said he is convinced that “history will poorly reflect” upon those who intentionally misinform. By this point in his speech, I started to think that he was subtweeting his opinion side colleagues.

And he continued: “The times ahead will test all of us as finders and disseminators of accurate information. My team and I, like you and yours, will strive to remain on task, trying our very best to ignore the Twitter trolls and others who relentlessly pursue us, daily, and to get the facts to the people. ALL of the people. In every place, in every corner where information is taken in. The First Amendment that this award honors gives us the protection to do what is right. To do what’s right, no matter what. To the founding fathers, we’re grateful and mindful of our responsibility; of our purpose; and of our duty.”

It was a powerful speech on a night full of them. “Good night, and get it right,” he said. Scroll down for other highlights…

Inside Fox’s event for ad buyers

Fox News promoted “a message of transparency and trust at its first-ever upfront” on Wednesday, AdAge’s Jeanine Poggi reported. She noted that there was a group of protesters outside Fox News HQ — organized by Media Matters — while the event went on inside.

The network’s ad sales chief Marianne Gambelli alluded to recent controversies during the upfront. She acknowledged that there’s a lot of “noise” out there, perhaps referring to the protesters, but said “the voice of a few shouldn’t stop you from marketing to consumers who will buy your brand…”

>> Variety’s Brian Steinberg: “Keeping the ad dollars flowing at Fox News is critical — not only for the network, but for its parent company…”

Carlson v. Carusone

This is how it works: Someone from your tribe is being criticized for saying hateful things? Show that the critics are hypocrites who have also said hateful things!

Case in point: Media Matters prez Angelo Carusone, who’s been leading the charge against Tucker Carlson, “has his own track record of inflammatory statements,” The Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson wrote Tuesday. Hasson disclosed that Carlson was a co-founder of the Caller. He said “Carusone’s now-defunct blog included degrading references to ‘trannies,’ ‘jewry’ and Bangladeshis.”

The Daily Caller wrote about some of these comments back in 2014. In fact, Carusone told me, “it’s happened several times since 2012,” meaning right-wing outlets have called him out in the past. But so what? The posts are offensive, then or now. Carusone admitted that his posts from the mid-2000s are “gross content.” But, he said, “the entire context and tone” of his old website “was intended to be a giant obnoxious right-wing caricature, a parody of a right-wing blowhard living my life. It’s awful and grotesque, which was sort of the point. But, it didn’t work. I wasn’t really good at it and it wasn’t really me. I stopped it after a short while and found better ways and more constructive ways to channel my energy.”

Meet the researcher…

Where did the embarrassing tapes of Carlson on “Bubba the Love Sponge” come from? Carlson claims he’s the victim of a “mob of power-seeking organizations and people he says are waging a political war to censor him,” Eli Rosenberg notes in this brand new WaPo piece, But “in reality, credit for the tapes’ publication” goes to Madeline Peltz, who works the night shift at Media Matters. Peltz is “a 20-something in her first adult job who lives in the basement of a Washington, D.C., house she rents with five other people, a few cats and a dog named Noodles,” Rosenberg writes…

FOR THE RECORD, PART ONE

— The most-read story on the WaPo website right now: “Trump disparages Boeing 737s in private before grounding the plane after deadly crash…” (WaPo)

— Above the fold on Thursday’s NYT front page: “Sentence Adds Time In Prison For Manafort” (NYT)

— CNN’s latest scoop: An attorney who said he was speaking with Rudy Giuliani “reassured Michael Cohen in an April 2018 email that Cohen could ‘sleep well tonight’ because he had ‘friends in high places.'” Read Gloria Borger and Jeremy Herb’s full story… (CNN)

— Adrienne LaFrance has been promoted to exec editor of The Atlantic, and Swati Sharma and Sarah Yager are now managing editors… (Atlantic)

— Oliver Darcy emails: Fred Barnes has joined The Washington Examiner as a senior columnist, the publication announced Wednesday. Barnes, of course, was one of the founding editors of the now-defunct Weekly Standard… (WaEx)

Goldston, Zucker, Attiah and more at the First Amendment Awards

Carl Bernstein, Dana Bash, Chris Wallace, Jake Tapper, Susan Zirinsky, Gloria Borger, Sam Feist, Jim Acosta, and Wolf Blitzer were all spotted at the Radio Television Digital News Foundation’s annual fund-raiser in DC on Wednesday night. Some of the takeaways:

— Karen Attiah accepting an award for Jamal Khashoggi: “All he wanted to do was write.”

— NBC’s Kasie Hunt said one of the benefits of being on the campaign trail is meeting voters and showing them what journalism really looks like: “It’s increasingly important in the face of this vitriolic rhetoric.”

— ABC News prez James Goldston: “This moment calls for us to be better at what we do than ever before. It is our duty to bolster the real news and to discredit news you can’t trust. And when we do that I’m optimistic that good journalism will prevail.”

— Sportscaster Dale Hansen, who received the lifetime achievement award: “We are not the enemy of the American people, because we ARE the American people.”

— CNN prez Jeff Zucker: CNN’s mission is to hold people in power accountable “even when it’s uncomfortable. Especially when it’s uncomfortable.”

— Carl Bernstein, who introduced Zucker, reflecting on 55 years as a journalist: “I don’t know of a moment that’s more perilous — for the country, for reporting, for the truth, and for the First Amendment.”

The evening’s best jokes

CBS News prez Susan Zirinsky took the stage to present an award to David Begnaud. “I am here tonight to celebrate someone very important at CBS,” she said. [Pause.] “R Kelly. No, I’m just kidding!” Well played…

And this from Zucker: “Oh, how we love that First Amendment! If we could, we’d kiss it like Donald Trump kissed that flag…”

FOR THE RECORD, PART TWO

— “Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with some of the world’s largest technology companies, intensifying scrutiny of the social media giant’s business practices as it seeks to rebound from a year of scandal and setbacks…” (NYT)

— Meanwhile, “Facebook’s major global outage is showing no sign of ending,” Donie O’Sullivan reports… This is “believed to be the biggest interruption ever suffered by the social network…” (CNN)

Read more of Wednesday’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter… And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox…

— “Gimlet Media, a podcasting startup recently acquired by Spotify, is the first audio-focused outlet to unionize in a wave of newsroom labor organizing…” (BuzzFeed)

— Speaking of podcasts: Hot Pod founder Nick Quah will join me on the “Reliable Sources” podcast, out Thursday evening…

— “The woman who precipitated Matt Lauer’s downfall — and the loss of his $25 million NBC job — is shopping around a tell-all book…” (Page Six)

— Alexandra Steigrad’s latest: “CBS staffers in a panic over call for $100M in cuts…” (NYPost)

TIME’s orange cover

This is the cover of TIME mag that will be coming out on Thursday…

The illustration is by Edel Rodriguez and the cover story is by Molly Ball… She writes that, as much as Nancy Pelosi “may not want to say it now, even her reticent Democratic allies in the House admit the push for impeachment is likely coming.”

Pelosi, she says, “is actually playing a deeper game. Her aides note that she’s never ruled impeachment out. All she’s done, they say, is set a ¬standard: increased popular support and some degree of GOP backing. Behind the scenes, she and her team are working to see that standard is met.”

Ball’s story will be up on TIME.com in the morning… The package also includes a column by David French about why impeachment is a mistake…

CNN News

CNN News

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