Even Chris Wallace grossed out by Shep Smith blaming Trump for Sayoc
Yesterday saw sparks fly between two Fox News anchors, as Chris Wallace called out Shepard Smith for blaming Trump for sparking the mailing of packages resembling bombs to prominent critics. Joe Concha of The Hill,* spotted the conflagration yesterday:
Smith began the segment by noting that all of the figures who had the pipe bombs mailed to them, including former President Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton, have exchanged fierce criticism with Trump.
"You just can't ignore the politics of this, even if you wanted to," Smith said. "These are people the president has gone after rhetorically. These are people this guy targeted. It goes to the tone and tenor of the political discourse and the words that the president uses in his rallies."
While Smith does not directly state that Trump is responsible, he clearly is implying it with the words "it goes to."
I don't think you can draw any particular link or any responsibility on the part of the president for this action," Wallace argued. "I mean, as [White House press secretary] Sarah [Huckabee] Sanders said and just repeated by [Fox News White House correspondent] John Roberts, a Bernie Sanders supporter shot up the congressman [sic] at the baseball practice. Is Bernie Sanders responsible for that?
To this Smith retorted:
Nobody is saying he's responsible[.] The rhetorical discourse has devolved over time and the president says we need to unify. Some of that begins with the rhetoric, does it not?
Not saying directly, only strongly implying it. As Smith went on to do again, a little later:
All I said is when the rhetoric gets loud, the crazies come out sometimes.
So, Trump's rhetoric draws out "the crazies," and then a Sayoc acts, and Smith criticizes him but denies that he is holding Trump responsible.
Watch the exchange for yourself:
Chris Wallace of Fox News is one of the more establishmentarian anchors at the cable news giant. Give him credit for standing up for the old standards of fairness.
Photo credit: FNC screen grab.
*An earlier version of this piece misstated The Hill columnist and media reporter Joe Concha's media affiliation. It has been corrected. Apologies for the error.