Details About Shepard Smith And Tucker Carlson's Feud

Fox News doesn't exactly have a great track record for their staff getting along super well. Gretchen Carlson was dismissed from the network, which prompted an investigation into sexual misconduct by both CEO Roger Ailes and the network at large. Megyn Kelly left the network during the fallout of the Ailes scandal, finding a new but short-lived home at NBC. Shepard Smith left the network in 2019, and it might have had something to do with his still-ongoing feud with Tucker Carlson

That's right, in a time as divisive as ours, even two people you might expect to be on the same page can have nasty, bitter disagreements. The issues between Carlson and Smith first came to light, at least publicly, in 2019 as questions over President Donald Trump's involvement with Ukraine and the subsequent impeachment were ramping up. On Shepard Smith Reporting in September 2019, the anchor interviewed Judge Andrew Napolitano, who opined that what Trump had done in Ukraine was a crime. Napolitano's strong, albeit not particularly unusual, stance was the spark that lit the powder keg between Smith and Carlson.

Carlson's guest called Smith's guest a "fool"

That evening, after Judge Andrew Napolitano appeared on Shepard Smith's program, former US Attorney Joe DiGenova appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to say that the Democrats had "bizarre brains" and to call Napolitano a fool. "I think Judge Napolitano is a fool. And I think what he said today is foolish," DiGenova told Carlson, via RealClearPolitics. This comment came in the middle of a rather meandering rant, which Carlson more or less just watched without comment. It was that lack of comment that Smith took issue with.

The following day on his show, Smith came to the defense of Napolitano. "Last night on this network during primetime opinion programming, a partisan guest who supports President Trump was asked about Judge Napolitano's legal assessment, and when he was asked, he said unchallenged, 'Judge Napolitano is a fool,'" Smith said, via The Wrap, before adding, "Attacking our colleague who is here to offer legal assessments on our air in our work home is repugnant." The gauntlet had officially been thrown down, but Carlson did not back down. Instead, he escalated the conflict.

Tucker Carlson invites the same guest back a second night in a row

After Shepard Smith called Joe DiGenova's comments about Andrew Napolitano repugnant, Tucker Carlson invited DiGenova right back onto his show for the second night in a row. "Apparently our daytime host who hosted Judge Napolitano was watching last night and was outraged by what you said and quite ironically called you partisan," Carlson told DiGenova, via Media Matters. DiGenova defended his comments, saying he told the truth.

Carlson then escalated the disagreement even more, saying, "it doesn't seem honest to me when a host, any host on any channel, including this one, pretends that the answer is obvious, there is ironclad consensus about what the answer is when there, in fact, isn't [...] That's not news, is it? That's opinion."

By the following day, the scandal had grown even more intense. Vanity Fair reported that the network had apparently sided with Carlson and told Smith that he had to stop challenging Carlson, or else. "They said if he does it again, he's off the air," a source told VF.

It's unclear just how much this episode weighed into Smith's decision to leave the network, but it seems safe to say it didn't make him feel particularly loved there. A few weeks later, on October 11, Smith announced he was leaving Fox News, a decision that apparently was a surprise to practically everyone, including network executives. As for his feud with Carlson, if they made up, it was very privately.