Fox News host Tucker Carlson picked up his feud with former colleague Shep Smith on Thursday, roundly mocking him for delivering a report on a packed Florida grocery store in which most of the customers and workers were unmasked.
Or, in other words, Carlson ridiculed Smith for doing his job.
After 23 years at Fox News, Smith left the network in late 2019 after publicly clashing with Carlson and criticizing the primetime star for failing to defend Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano when Carlson’s guest called him a “fool.” Carlson responded by accusing Smith of being “partisan” while making fun of the veteran anchor’s defense of Napolitano.
Smith eventually landed at CNBC as a primetime news anchor, vowing to “fight disinformation” after joining the business network last fall. Carlson, who Fox News lawyers have successfully argued in court should not be taken seriously, apparently decided Thursday night was the time to pounce on his former colleague.
“Tonight we bring you the story of a genuine investigative journalist,” Carlson snarked. “A man who's been forgotten. Cast aside like an Acosta when he should be an Edward R. Murrow. That’s an injustice we plan to rectify right now.”
Piling on the sarcasm, Carlson poked fun at Smith for reporting on the maskless supermarket, a story that drew a ton of attention nationwide and sparked additional debate about mask-wearing during a critical juncture in a pandemic that’s now killed nearly 450,000 Americans.
“Last night, this same investigative journalist—now an anchor at CNBC— broke the story of a lifetime,” Carlson quipped. “If Pulitzer Prizes still mattered, and they don’t, this would get a Pulitzer. You have seen the Zapruder film. You’ve seen the moon landing. You’ve never seen anything like this.”
After playing Smith’s report, which featured Smith saying the scene looked “pre-pandemic” while commenting on the maskless people in the store, Carlson turned back to his audience to jab a few more times at the respected newsman.
“We believed the hype, I guess,” he huffed. “Maybe when you spend 30 years reading scripts about car chases everything seems like a car chase.”
“The problem is, not everything is a car chase,” Carlson concluded. “Sometimes people are just smiling at each other in a grocery store. Sorry, overheated news guy. That’s not actually news.”
After being fairly diplomatic and very careful not to criticize Fox following his departure, Smith eventually had some relatively harsh criticism for his ex-network last month.
“I stuck with it as long as I could,” Smith told PBS anchor Christiane Amanpour.
Asked if he felt some of his former colleagues were spreading disinformation, he added: “I don’t know how some people sleep at night. Because I know there are a lot of people who propagated the lies and have pushed them forward over and over again, who are smart enough and educated enough to know better.”