This past Wednesday, following the Holocaust Museum shooting, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith expressed anxiety about the spread of Internet conspiracy theories surrounding Barack Obama's birthplace, to which alleged shooter James von Brunn subscribed. "They're on websites, feeding each other the same bunch of hate that's not based in fact, and it's ginning itself up," he observed. "I guess if that's what you want to do with your time, maybe that's what you do, but more and more it seems like people are taking the extra step and getting the gun out."
Smith earned his fair share of right-wing ire for those comments, with Rush Limbaugh accusing him of "whining and moaning and complaining about emails." However, this is hardly the first time a Fox News anchor has dissented from the conservative echo chamber. Here are a few other occasions when Fox mainstays went rogue.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, following the Holocaust Museum shooting (6/10/09):
"I think we need to see those two intelligence assessments that were released by Homeland Security earlier this year--one dealt with left wing extremists, the other dealt with right wing extremists--you have to see them in a somewhat different light."
SHEPARD SMITH, following the release of the "torture memos" (4/23/09):
"We are AMERICA! I don't give a rat's ass if it helps! We are America, we do NOT fucking torture! We don't do it."
MEGYN KELLY, arguing with Bill O'Reilly about Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire's decision to allow an atheist display at the state capitol building in Olympia (12/5/08):
"The government doesn't decide what's appropriate speech. That's not the way this country works! That's the bedrock of the First Amendment!"
SHEPARD SMITH, after speaking with Joe the Plumber about Barack Obama's views on Israel (10/28/08):
"I just want to make this 100 percent, perfectly clear. Barack Obama has said repeatedly, and demonstrated repeatedly, that Israel will always be a friend of the United States, no matter what happens, once he becomes president of the United States. His words. The rest of it, man, it just gets frightening sometimes."
MEGYN KELLY, speaking with John McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds about his candidate's claims that Barack Obama would raise taxes on the middle class (9/15/08):
"You guys have suggested that he's going to raise taxes on the middle class, and virtually every independent analyst who took a look at that claim said it's not true. He'll raise it on people making more than $200,000, $250,000, but not the middle class."
SHEPARD SMITH, after a human interest story about a man who got stuck in a Porta-Potty (6/9/08):
"People who get stuck in portable toilets, they're like the people who deny the whole global warming thing. They're just a little crazy."
By Dylan Matthews