Shepard Smith Opens Up About Leaving Fox News After 23 Years: "I Stuck With It for as Long as I Could"

The CNBC anchor also spoke abstractly about journalists reporting misinformation in a new interview about his career change: "I don't know how some people sleep at night."

Shepard Smith has opened up about why he decided to leave Fox News in 2019 after 23 years at the network.

The former Shepard Smith Reporting anchor and current CNBC host got candid about his tenure at the cable news network in an interview with journalist Christiane Amanpour that will air Tuesday night on PBS. "If you feel like the Fox viewers were getting mis- or disinformation, I was there to make sure that they got it straight," Smith said in the clip, which Amanpour tweeted on Tuesday. "I stuck with it for as long as I could. And at some point I realized I've reached a point of diminishing returns and I left."

When Amanpour pressed Smith as to whether he "accept[s]" that Fox News "perpetuated so many of the divisions, the lies, the conspiracies" of the Trump presidency, Smith spoke abstractly about journalists who "lead people astray" and expressed his distaste for them.

"I feel the same way about that now that I did then. My goal was to just keep the blinders on and to do my job to the best of my ability," he said. "Opine all you like, but if you're going to opine, begin with the truth and go from there. It's that deviation from that that has caused me the greatest concern. And I believe that when people begin with a false premise and lead people astray, that's injurious to society, and it's the antithesis of what we should be doing."

He added, "I slept very well. I don't know how some people sleep at night because I know there are a lot of people who have propagated the lies and pushed them forward over and over again who are smart enough and educated enough to know better. And I hope that at some point, those who have done us harm as a nation — and, I might add, as a world — will look around and realize what they've done. But I'm not holding my breath."

Smith left his position as chief news anchor and managing editor of breaking news at Fox in 2019, a personal decision that surprised many in the media world and even Fox colleagues. During his time at Fox, Smith frequently was targeted by President Trump, who called him "low ratings Shep Smith."

In July 2020, the news broke that Smith was joining CNBC to host an evening newscast, The News With Shepard Smith. “I spoke to all the networks, it was this one that said, 'What we want to do is a facts-only newscast,'” Smith told The Hollywood Reporter in September of that year of his decision to join the cable news network.