Fox News' Shepard Smith: The Russian Collusion Story Is Not "Fake News"

Shepard Smith - Getty - H 2017
Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Smith also recently debunked a popular story in conservative media about a Canadian Uranium company.

Two weeks after irking some Fox News viewers by debunking the "Uranium One" story that's been popular with opinion hosts like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, Shepard Smith pushed back strongly on the notion that stories about Russian collusion with Donald Trump's presidential campaign are made up.

"That this is a ruse, that this is 'fake news,' is a lie," Smith said on his show on Friday, during a segment about the guilty plea of Michael Flynn, who worked for the campaign and briefly served as national security advisor.

Tying the Flynn plea together with recent charges against onetime campaign staffers George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates (the latter two pleaded not guilty), Smith said, "We know that four of the people within the president's realm have either been indicted or have pleaded guilty. What we don't understand yet is the degree to which the president was involved, if at all." 

Smith said the list of people in Trump's orbit who lied "is getting longer and longer," as is "the number of contacts with Russians." He said, "What we don't know is, why all the lying, and why all of the contacts."

It goes without saying that Smith's opinion is not among the consensus at his network, as his colleagues at Fox News have approached the Russian collusion story with significant skepticism, making Smith's comments all the more interesting.

As a more down-the-middle news anchor, Smith gives the network some ammunition against critics who say that Fox News is a Trump-boosting monolith. On Wednesday, 21st Century Fox executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch mentioned Smith when asked at an industry conference whether his network is in the tank for Trump. "You can't say that Shepard Smith is behind the president," Murdoch responded.