MSNBC President Phil Griffin was asked who he would hire if he could choose whoever his heart desires, and the man his heart desires most is Fox News' Shepard Smith.
"Is there an on-air personality on another network that you would like to have?" The Hollywood Reporter's Marisa Guthrie asked. "I don't know if I should say this," Griffin began, knowing the controversy that choosing someone from the right's favorite cable news channel might create. "Shep Smith. I just like his way. I like everything about him."
Surprising, right? Not really. The President of MSNBC saying he would love to poach a career Fox News guy seems preposterous on paper. But Shep has long been the one of the left's favorites on the "fair and balanced" network. He won left-y fans in May when he openly praised Obama's gay marriage endorsement and said the GOP was "sitting very firmly, without much question, on the wrong side of history on it."
The New York Times' profiled Smith in 2009 focusing on how he is, as one quote in the story puts it, "the only one at Fox who takes the ‘fair and balanced’ thing seriously."
So why do some Fox viewers believe he does not belong? Maybe because Mr. Smith has established a record that seems antithetical to the image Fox has earned as a purveyor of conservative orthodoxy. The channel has become the “voice of the opposition on some issues,” according to Bill Shine, Fox’s senior vice president for programming.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the right sometimes doesn't love Shep the way they love the rest of the motley crew at Fox News. This Red State editorial from May didn't mince words when it comes to Smiths' supposed left leanings:
I don’t have a problem with a liberal-leftist on Fox TV. But I object to their claim that “news anchor” Shepard Smith is a “fair and balanced” reporter. Time and again he editorializes in favor of the liberal left position – whether it is as an advocate of their views or in attacking the conservative position.
Shepard Smith uses sarcasm and opinion sneakily camouflaged as fact to constantly denigrate the conservative position as if he is reporting facts. All the while pretending to be reporting the news “fair and balanced.”
Shep, now you know who to call if you ever happen to find yourself out of a job.
UPDATE: Politico's Dylan Byers found Shep Smith roaming around Denver in preparation for tonight's debate and told him about Griffin's glowing endorsement. "I've got a job," Smith said.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.