On the EDge: Fox News’ family feud

A TV tuned to Fox News with a remote in the foreground asking if the user wants to delete the channel. Undated. | Stock images, St. George News

OPINION — They’re drawing swords at Fox News and, quite frankly, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

The charlatans who have seized the respectability of news reporting and substituted it with grievous bloviators and hucksters will soon be called upon to throw a bucket or two of cold water on the beef between Shephard Smith, a credible and experienced newsman, and Sean Hannity, a credible and experienced construction worker who somehow transitioned from swinging a hammer to slinging alarmist, conspiracy theory-based nonsense on an international platform at the cable news network. Somehow, he has wormed his way into the Trump administration, earning a special place at the right hand of the president, who, we are told, often consults him on important matters if his buddies at Fox and Friends are too busy to take his call.

For years, Hannity has insisted that he is not a journalist, that he is a commentator, an opinion guy, not a reporter. He said as much when he posted a tweet saying: “I’m not a journalist jackass. I’m a talk host.” That’s a good thing because his experience lends itself better to framing houses than framing a good, solid news story. Still, his blue collar assessments appealed to enough of an audience to allow him to displace a beleaguered Rush Limbaugh, the former king of conservative talk show hosts, who has since become a caricature of his old self. Hannity also outlasted Bill O’Reilly, a former Fox News colleague, because he was able to do something O’Reilly could not – keep his pants zipped. Of course, that was something other Fox News people up and down the chain of command were unable to do, including Roger Ailes, who was forced to resign his post as CEO in disgrace after a number of women employees came forward and outed him as a sexual predator.

Hannity is like the barfly who guzzles cheap gin while spinning yarns of ridiculous proportion – from his support of the “birtherism” movement to claims of voter fraud that were proven untrue, lies about the health and welfare of then-candidate Hillary Clinton and, now, shouting to anybody who will listen, about the “deep state” that controls the nation from behind the scenes. He flaunted the science of climate change, promoted the lie of death panels to firm his stance against the Affordable Care Act and was once fired from a radio station for his hateful anti-gay comments.

Smith?

He’s a newsman, an old-school newsman with a style reminiscent of the late David Brinkley – a guaranteed foundation of credibility and truth laced with a wry wit. He can be counted on for a fair, accurate, honest daily report on a cable news network with specious, at best, credentials and a monosyllabic vocabulary. He is intellectually inquisitive in an environment where intelligence is a felony.

Hannity and Smith are in the dust right now after a Time magazine interview Smith granted.

In the story, Smith is quoted as saying that the opinion side of Fox News doesn’t “really have rules” and exists “strictly to be entertaining.”

He went on to say, “We serve different masters. …We work for different reporting chains, we have different rules. They don’t really have rules on the opinion side. They can say whatever they want. If it’s their opinion.”

Smith, on the other hand, can be relied upon for accurate and timely reporting without embellishing it with opinion.

Opinion pieces have always been an integral, vital part of the journalism world.

The job of an op-ed writer or broadcaster is to start the conversation, to get people talking, offer a view they may not have considered and deliver it in an entertaining or, sometimes, uncomfortable manner. Facts enter into the equation; wild, unproven conspiracy theories do not.

Some of our finest writers have been those with switchblade-like commentary on our times and culture, from the loquacious, but enviably talented conservative wordsmith William F. Buckley to the equally loquacious, but brilliantly gifted, Hunter S. Thompson.

There was Jimmy Breslin, William Safire, Drew Pearson, Jack Anderson, Molly Ivins and a host of others who have treaded the deep, dark waters of opinion writing. They angered readers, gave them a chuckle, but, most importantly, made them think.

The problem today is that those who work in that world, particularly in the broadcast realm, are not provoking much cerebral exercise. Instead, they are shepherding a mob of uninformed, angry sheep in desperate need of shearing wooly coats that insulate them from truth.

The problem is, however, that many cross that very distinguishable line between comment and propaganda, guiding their flocks by filling it with fearful stories about a big, bad wolf dressed in blue.

Ideological commentary is good. It’s a part of us, at least it should be if we hope to advance our humanity.

Propagandizing is not healthy on any level because it is the perpetuation of lies.

To insist, for example, that Barack Obama was not born in the United States even after proof was offered by way of an official state of Hawaii document is propagandizing.

To insist that there is no such thing as climate change when nearly every credible person of science verifies that fact, is propagandizing.

Opinion writers are often criticized for ad hominem, or personal, attacks.

The thing is, it is unavoidable because there comes a time when a person’s demeanor, actions, ideology become so offensive, so odious, so greedy or self-aggrandizing or deceitful they become wrapped in that person’s character, making them indistinguishable, inseparable from each other. Unfortunately, during those times, even the most gentlemanly or ladylike among us must grapple in the mud, which is acceptable as long as one does not wallow.

This feud between Smith and Hannity is curious because, after many years in the business, I have rarely found a polite newsroom.

During the old school days, newsrooms were highly volatile, decorated liberally with bad cigar smoke, stale whiskey and foul language.

Today’s newsrooms are, by comparison, monasteries where hardly a discouraging word is uttered. Lukewarm newsrooms result in a daily report so tepid you couldn’t brew a cup of tea.

And, while readers may rubberneck at the gory details of the car wreck du jour, it is the opinion writers who make them fulminate by challenging their sensibilities.

I must admit, I rarely watch Hannity or Smith these days. I just don’t feel right giving my business and free time to Fox News. In the interest of full disclosure, I also rarely tune in to MSNBC to watch Rachel Maddow or Chris Matthews for the same reasons. They all leave me feeling more than a little bit dirty. Even when I find some finer points of political agreement I can’t help but feel my skin itch because of the messenger’s smarmy countenance.

Fox News will survive this clash of egos, to be sure.

Smith will remain well-paid and the network’s sole link to credibility while Hannity will continue to fan the flames of fanaticism he ignited with his populist pulp.

Me?

I’ll be watching “Seinfeld” and “Big Bang Theory” reruns instead.

At least they are intentionally funny.

No bad days!

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: edkociela.mx@gmail.com

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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52 Comments

  • Doug March 20, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Liberal hogwash.

    • John March 20, 2018 at 8:00 am

      ” Mommas, don’t let your babies grow up to be liberals !” No wonder the Democrat party’s mascot is a donkey ! Special ed proves why again ! hahahahahaha! No body chases more fake news than special eddy !

    • No Filter March 20, 2018 at 8:34 am

      Spoken like a true sheep of Fox News

      • John March 20, 2018 at 9:07 am

        No Brain, you sound like a true follower of the almighty fake news carrot. Your momma dropped you on your head when you were little (on purpose).You never did recover from that traumatic brain injury , did you?

        • Death Valley March 21, 2018 at 10:32 am

          John, look at the way you talk to people here. Do you honestly think anyone really gives a crap about your opinion? All you do is hurl insults. You can’t possibly think you’re important enough to take seriously. Which is why you lash out like a child throwing a temper tantrum. Truth and facts must burn you like water burned the Wicked Witch in Oz. You’re pathetic.

  • statusquo March 20, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Someone should delete your channel Ed

    • No Filter March 20, 2018 at 10:27 am

      You don’t have to read his articles, just as I don’t have to read Bryan Hyde’s articles. If you don’t want to hear his point of view then don’t click on his stories.

  • Mr. W March 20, 2018 at 8:00 am

    “They don’t really have rules on the opinion side. They can say whatever they want. If it’s their opinion”
    Must have been an article about Ed an overbloated liberal conspiracy theorist. Sad to know that somewhere in our community this mop headed sandle wearing d bag is roaming around ragging on religious people and blue collar people. I didn’t know that it was against the rules for a framer to make more of himself. Good thing E.D. let us know that. His liberal hate is class warfare he said it himself in this load of trash he just wrote. And note I think Sean Hannity is an ego that never shuts up but why is it’s E.D.s place to say that he can’t possibly know anything because all he will ever be is a blue collar low life who’s only purpose is to build houses, drink beer, and drive a pickup. Way to alienate an entire class of people. No bad days with E.D.

    • No Filter March 20, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      He didn’t say he didn’t know anything, he stated that he knows more about framing houses than framing a good news story. But if you read the whole context of the paragraph he made it clear that Hannity himself said he is not a journalist, but a commentator. The fact that you are pointing out false statements proves you are just looking for a way to hate the author of this article. I disagree with the right wing authors, but I read the whole context of the story and not just what I want to use as ammunition against his opinion. The whole part of this story is to show that people in the United States see Hannity as the news and the truth, but he is just an opinion commentator. He can make up stories and not be punished because its his opinion and does not need to be based on facts. I will also remind you that Ed said the same thing about left wing media opinion commentators. This comment section is the result of people like Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddows. Until we stop getting our news from prime time TV and facebook, we will certainly be uninformed sheep to whatever TV station or news feed we read on a daily basis.

      • Mr. W March 20, 2018 at 6:16 pm

        Please enlighten me as to what news sources I should follow as I don’t have cable or local news and despise social media. I typically start my day sifting thru news from several different sources and try to read both sides as I like to call myself an independent. What I consistently see in Eds opinion pieces is a lot of hate and labeling of entire groups of people. I can’t stand to read the conservative counterpiece published on stg news it’s usually just a lot of cannon fodder.
        I do take offense in his generalization of blue collar people. I am a college graduate, blue collar, small business owner and according to Ed because I am blue collar if later in life I felt like saying anything political as I am now I am just an uninformed sheep. Oh those were your words. Sorry. Do let me know what I should read though so I’m not so dumb next time I open my mouth.

  • Randy March 20, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Go back to California ed

  • St Geo March 20, 2018 at 8:22 am

    Ed: Good thing you threw in the disclaimer about wanting to watch Seinfeld and Big Bang Theory, but anyone who reads your liberal drool will know that you may be watching those shows, but you’ll continually have that hanging bag of CNN Electric Kool-Aid plugged into your veins.

  • Blemonds March 20, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Ad hominem much?

  • No Filter March 20, 2018 at 8:28 am

    I myself have become so irritated with news channels that I can’t watch any of them anymore. I tried to watch both news networks in hopes of deciphering the truth between the two sides of the story. Now I cannot tell what is news and what is opinion. I want the days of the nightly news with Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite back so I can believe in what is in the news again. Our only hope is that some day more people snap out of the trance that the likes of Fox news and MSNBC have on people and they start demanding real news like it appears Sheppard Smith is still trying to give us. Until that day I will just use my best judgement in deciding what is true and what is fake news.

    • comments March 20, 2018 at 12:59 pm

      MSM is far more agenda driven than they are motivated to report news in a neutral and factual way. Basically, all of it is propaganda. True investigative reporting is, for the most part, dead in this country, at least by the major players in media. They are fully beholden to advertiser’s and other money-driven agendas. It actually is fake news. Every now and again there are stories that they’re not motivated to put some sort of agenda-driven spin on (like weather, perhaps), but overall they can’t be trusted.

      • No Filter March 20, 2018 at 2:41 pm

        I agree that most investigative reporting is dead, but you have to admit Fox and Friends and anything on Fox news after say 4 p.m. eastern time is agenda driven. Its a problem on every network and every newspaper we read. I agree pretty much all news is fake news these days. I’ll stick to BBC for my world news.

        • comments March 20, 2018 at 8:07 pm

          would never trust BBC. corrupt and rotten to the core.

          • John March 21, 2018 at 9:24 am

            nobrains thinks BBC is factual because to him , news with a British accent sounds more intelligent ! HAHAHAHA! Keep chasing that MSM carrot nobrains!

          • No Filter March 21, 2018 at 10:15 am

            Who do you trust then, because the only thing left is uni-vision and aljazeera news? Besides I said world news, I could care less about what happens in politics, that’s what late night talk show host are for.

          • Death Valley March 21, 2018 at 10:33 am

            Get a life, John boy.

        • comments March 21, 2018 at 12:56 pm

          as far as national and international news organizations, I TRUST NONE OF THEM. They are too corrupted by money and agendas to be impartial. If you want truth in reporting you have to just do your best to try to sort thru the BS, agendas, and lies. I can’t recommend any one source that I’d consider “fully trustworthy”.

        • John March 21, 2018 at 3:09 pm

          Let’s put it this way no brain sheep boy, unlike you , I actually research for the facts and stay far away from the brain damaging sources that your comments prove that you faithfully use. You, being a full blown liberal makes it so much easier for your thoughts to be manipulated. I’ll not tell you where to look for the facts because you need to know how to find the truth for yourself. As long as you keep chasing the carrot they hold out for you, that’s all you will ever find. If you’re not right, you’re probably a liberal ! hahahaha! happy hunting my friend !

          • No Filter March 21, 2018 at 4:15 pm

            Alright John I’ll give you one last reply to make crude comments about. As far as you doing your research I believe bikeandfish called you out on your “facts” about mass shooters and their political affiliation the other day, so obviously you still need help in that department . You cannot tell me where to look for facts(not that I need help from someone like you) because it doesn’t take much time to see that your facts come from two places, 1) right wing media post from your facebook account, and 2) Well I am not sure where your childish comments come from, maybe spongebob square pants? Either way don’t expect any more reply’s from me regarding your off the wall comments. At least “comments” aka bob can have a somewhat decent conversation without using the vocabulary of a 4 year old. Keep trolling maybe bikeandfish will still play games with you.

        • John March 21, 2018 at 7:00 pm

          hahahaha! nobrains,
          What’s the matter? You don’t like the mental spanking? Can’t play with the big boys and got your feelings hurt? Waaah waaaah waaah ! I thought so. You panty waisted liberal snowflake. It’s really quite easy having this battle of wits with you , but it’s getting way too easy since you are so unarmed, hahahahahaha! You just reinforce the fact that liberals are brain damaged. The only thing wrong with your arguments is that they are based in liberal fantasy and lack any facts.. and I love to send bikeandfish off on long winded blowhard rants because she can’t resist getting triggered. The egomaniac always has to have the last word and I like to prove to the world that bikeandfish is an egomaniac..Egomaniacs like bikeandfish are very insecure people. She can’t handle the fact that she is not really the fish of all knowledge and i just like to get her to demonstrate her insecurity. Try it sometime, it’s a blast ! And she will never let you get the last word..hahahaha. You people are CLUELESS !

          • comments March 21, 2018 at 9:23 pm

            the fish of all knowledge? LOL. You know it never even occurred to me that bike might be a woman. I never met a woman who liked to fish, at least not one that fishes by her own initiative. I’ve met several that will tag along with hubby or bf. The mental image I had of bike is of a very effeminate, possibly homosexual, man. u Never know i guess

            😉

          • John March 21, 2018 at 9:30 pm

            comments… nobody but a woman could use so many words to say so little..LOL

          • No Filter March 22, 2018 at 8:17 am

            You taking the bait proves that you need some mental health services. I know a great office with psychologist and psychiatrist that can help you. And because I know you are uneducated and likely can’t afford it, I will be opening a go fund me page to help pay for your services. Please go to https://www.gofundme.com/johnneedsmeds and donate what you can so we can get this poor man the help he needs. John if we can’t raise enough money I will help you get into the free clinic for help. Just remember there is always someone willing to help the mentally challenged. There is hope! Lots of luck in your journey John and remember don’t be ashamed of your disability. #johnneedsmeds #mentalhealthisadisease #thereishope

          • John March 22, 2018 at 9:48 am

            hey nobrain, your’e the one who needs help. You have proven that your’e a liberal and that means severe mental handicap. Too bad you are too clueless to see that your’e an imbecile.. hahahahahahaha! You just can’t handle sarcasm you clueless liberal ! Every time you comment you prove my point, you crybaby…

          • No Filter March 22, 2018 at 11:53 am

            Come on John you can do better than that. Am I a clueless liberal or a mentally handicap liberal. I just want to know so I can be clear when I talk to a doctor. If I am clueless I can’t get on welfare, but if I am mentally handicapped then I think I have a chance. Would you mind giving me a referral so that I can show them that you diagnosed me and now I can’t work because I am such a dumb libtard. Thanks for all the free medical advice, Dr. John, you should post your findings that all liberals are mentally handicapped in a medical journal or something, might make you famous. Maybe even get you a cabinet position in the white house.

  • John March 20, 2018 at 8:46 am

    Here we have special eddy taking the side of the too much mascara wearing gossip queen of FOX news, Lecturing us on opinion vs. journalism. My ribs hurt from laughing (at special eddy) so hard ! This is nearly the dumbest piece he has ever come out with. Yes Doug, this is a bunch of butt hurt liberal hogwash. But wait, all the carrot chasing brain dead liberals will be coming out and it’s going to be a great day for melting snowflakes ! Get the popcorn !

  • Real Life March 20, 2018 at 9:10 am

    After your full out assault on Fox, at least you threw in a sentence or two about MSNBC. They are all garbage Ed, but the Libs have many more networks battling on their side. Even you can admit that.

    • No Filter March 20, 2018 at 10:12 am

      True comment on the TV shows, but the far right has the advantage in the radio news shows for sure. You can’t escape the noise from the left or right anywhere. Best to just watch reruns on netflix.

  • DB March 20, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    The prime time cable news shows are opinion, got it. Hannity and his radio equal Limbaugh have become nothing but Trump apologizers. I expect some comment like “But it was only a misdemeanor” to come out of their mouths at some point. Problem is that the so-called ‘news’ shows have become opinion shows as well. I’ve all but stopped watching ANY of them.

  • Utahguns March 20, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    I’ve stopped reading this liberal lily-livered dweeb’s articles and have found more entertainment reading the comments section.

  • PatriotLiberal March 20, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Every time I think about ANY of the modern “news” organizations (Be they right-wing, left wing,etc) I think about this scene from “The Newsroom”:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPHSXUS0_1c

    • John March 20, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      Hey oxy moron, do you fight with yourself often? You can’t be both a patriot and a liberal.. the terms are mutually exclusive.. you are more like the pantifa raider..

    • No Filter March 21, 2018 at 10:29 am

      I love that scene from the Newsroom! Don’t listen to what the village idiot John is saying, he just likes the attention. Liberals are just as patriotic as those clowns on the right.

      • John March 21, 2018 at 1:28 pm

        Is your new hero pantifa? hahahahahaha! He should give his mommy her pink thong back.. he looks stupid with it on his face…what a bunch of clueless libtards…

  • John March 20, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    New BAND : Special Eddy and the new riders of the yellow short bus…spouting liberal hypocrisy throughout southern Utah.!

  • bikeandfish March 21, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    I haven’t found Ed’s writing very interesting in a long while. To use his own words, I think he wallows in the mud instead of exposing the dirt for what it is.

    Its entertaining to watch John and comments resort to guessing my gender and sex. The only thing their guesses do is expose their own sexism (John) and homophobia (comments). Such efforts are the last resort of those who can’t present worthwhile ideas that stand on their own.

    • John March 22, 2018 at 8:35 am

      Told you all bikeandfish is a blowhard egomaniac. hahaha ! She just proved my point,and we are not guessing about your gender ! and neither of us is homophobic , racist or sexist. You just happen to be one of those helpless liberals who need some sort of label on everything. I feel sorry for you because all your labels are wrong again fishy britches !

    • PatriotLiberal March 22, 2018 at 11:45 am

      Hear hear, B&F. Hear Hear.

    • comments March 22, 2018 at 12:05 pm

      Actually, there was no insult intended, bike. It actually just never occurred to me that you may be a woman. Kinda surprised myself actually. My instinct still tells me you’re not a woman, but it is a curiosity. Also, just bc I’m not for gay marriage doesn’t mean i dislike all homosexuals. I’ve known some over the years I was quite fond of.

      • comments March 22, 2018 at 12:08 pm

        Oh and I agree, Ed’s writing is getting really crappy these days. He parrots talking points of leftist-fascist MSM, and that’s all he seems able to do. As bad as they’ve become in recent years I still vote for the D-party, and Ed makes us look very bad in general.

      • bikeandfish March 22, 2018 at 2:10 pm

        I wasn’t insulted by you two guessing my gender/sex. I learned to completely ignore the social policing of gender/sexuality years ago. The point was the conversation you two had reveals nothing of merit about others. It just reveals his sexism and your homophobia. You regularly demean LGBTQi individuals outside the context of marriage:

        “This means a huge portion of them are “bisexuals”, or generally just perverts and degenerates that basically take any opportunity. Women, men, goats?”

        If you actually care about not discriminating on people based on gender/sex than it looks like you need to write more intentionally and investigate your values.

        • John March 22, 2018 at 5:50 pm

          Hahahahahahaha! You really are a blowhard egomaniac with severe control issues. You just can’t shut up with your pointless long winded rants. You are the homophobe because you think gays deserve other rights than everybody else, you are the sexist because you believe women deserve different rights than everbody else. You are the racist because you believe minorities should have different rights than everybody else. KEEP PUTTING LABELS ON PEOPLE and I will keep calling you out on it you insecure mental midget ! Go play protest with your buddy panty-fa ! There, now you are labeled you loser !

          • bikeandfish March 22, 2018 at 8:05 pm

            Ah, the hateful comments never end.

            Can you show me where I have argued that LGBTQi individuals, women or racial minorities deserve different rights than others?

            Don’t remember arguing for that idea as my core value is one of equality in which any individual in this country is afforded the same as any other citizen without regard to race, religion, sex/gender, ethnicity, etc.

            Your sexism has always been obvious. Just look to your comment above, ie “nobody but a woman could use so many words to say so little”.

            Racism, sexism and homophobia have definitions that you just seem to want to abandon.

            Still waiting to “feel triggered” by anything you say. Never been bothered by anything you say; I just highlight how illogical, irrational, untruthful and hateful your comments constantly are. Its not hard work to do so nor does it take much time. You make it too easy.

        • comments March 22, 2018 at 8:09 pm

          LGBTQi… hmm? About the only thing they haven’t added to their ‘acronym’ or whatever it is is ‘pedophile’… so LGBTQi+P, oh and just for good measure add another B in there for bestiality, so LGBTQi+P+B. I believe the only reason they haven’t added both of those is that they’re illegal. If I see sexual degeneracy I will point it out. The anything goes mentality is toxic and will lead to nothing good. And ‘sexual morality’ (for lack of a better term) has a lot more importance than something like “oh the bible said this and that”. The anything goes culture/mentality is nothing but death. I don’t agree w/ the way john presents many arguments, but in this case he’s got a point.

          So want to humor us bike? Just for kicks. Wanna tell us your sex, gender & sexual pref?

          • bikeandfish March 22, 2018 at 9:02 pm

            Oh, do tell what is John’s valid point?

            It sounds like you admit that you are openly and boldly homophobic.

        • John March 22, 2018 at 8:37 pm

          FLIP FLOP.. BLOWHARD Egomaniac alert !!!

        • John March 22, 2018 at 8:54 pm

          We should get you a p-touch so you could make more labels for to help you get through your day. Not only are you an egomaniac , you exhibit symptoms of extreme OCD.. Your’e a mess brain of fish and BTW you are triggered just by the fact that you respond with your typical pointless retorts.. You prove my point every time. Life must be hard with that OCD…hahahahahaha! You just can’t handle sarcasm and it’s funny..It must be so if the fish of all knowledge says so.. Because if it isn’t she gets all OTR about it..Have a nice night fishy britches..

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