Shep Smith’s First Big Move After Fox: $500k Donation For Press Freedom

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 21: Shepard Smith hosts the Committee to Protect Journalists' 29th Annual International Press Freedom Awards on November 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
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Former Fox News anchor Shep Smith has emerged for the first time following his abrupt resignation last month.

According to a New York Times report, Smith made his first public appearance since his resignation last month at the International Press Freedom Awards hosted by the Committee to Protect Journalists on Thursday night. During the event, Smith announced that he would donate $500,000 to the nonprofit group, while calling for the defense of independent journalism.

“Intimidation and vilification of the press is now a global phenomenon. We don’t have to look far for evidence of that,” Smith said at the event, which was met with applause, according to the Times. The Times also noted that Smith had signed up for the event before he resigned from Fox News.

Although the former Fox News anchor has developed a reputation for his criticism of President Trump, Smith did not directly mention Trump by name. However, Smith appeared to offer subtle jabs at the President by pointing out his treatment of the press.

“Our belief a decade ago that the online revolution would liberate us now seems a bit premature, doesn’t it?” Smith said. “Autocrats have learned how to use those same online tools to shore up their power. They flood the world of information with garbage and lies, masquerading as news. There’s a phrase for that.”

Smith also urged the media to not fall prey to government encroachment on press freedom.

“We know that journalists are sometimes wary of being perceived as activists for some cause,” Smith said. “But press freedom is not the preserve of one political group or one political party. It’s a value embedded in our very foundational documents. Journalists need to join hands to defend it.”

Last month, Smith announced at the end of his final show that “under our agreement I won’t be reporting elsewhere, at least in the near future.” A few weeks later, CNN’s Jeff Zucker expressed interest in hiring the “very talented” Shep Smith as soon as his contract allows him work again.

Read the New York Times’ report here.

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