In a development that may epitomize the increasing political polarization of broadcast news reporting as a business, Shepard Smith, a reporter who worked at Fox News from its inception in 1996 and until last autumn, has landed a new job at CNBC, part of the NBC Universal news group.
Smith became notorious in his final years at Fox for disputing the significance of the alleged “Uranium One” scandal.
Smith’s Fox colleague, Sean Hannity, claimed in 2017 that Hillary Clinton, when Secretary of State, had approved a deal in which Russia acquired 20% of the uranium in the US, which then became available for Russia’s use in nuclear weapons. Smith replied on his own show that although Russians had acquired a controlling equity interest in a Canadian mining company with assets in the US, the uranium had never been exported to Russia, and remains subject to an extensive regulatory system.
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An in-house critic has his value, or at least that was the consensus of a less polarized time, and Smith signed a multi-year deal with Fox subsequent to the Uranium One dispute. But last October, Smith announced on air that he had asked Fox for permission to leave, and the network had agreed. At CNBC, he will have the titles of chief general news anchor and chief breaking news anchor.