“We must never manipulate or invent; we must never knowingly deceive,” Fox News Channel’s Shep Smith cautioned Wednesday night as he picked up a First Amendment Award at the Radio Television Digital News Foundation’s First Amendment Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Speaking to a crowd that feels more comfortable describing Fox News as a propaganda machine for President Donald Trump since the DNC did so in announcing it would not get in bed with the Fox division for a Dem debate, Smith predicted history will not be kind to those who intentionally misinform.
“Being accurate and honest and thorough and fair is our primary mission,” Smith told attendees of the annual awards ceremony of RTDNF which, in 2007 gave its Leadership Award to Fox News Channel architect Roger Ailes for his contribution to the protection of the First Amendment.
In 2019, Smith forecast the “times ahead will test all of us finders and disseminators of accurate information.”
Among those congratulating Smith, Fox News Channel’s harshest critic Jeff Zucker, who told the gathering he “greatly” admires Smith.
The CNN chief, another trophy winner, preached to the choir that the Trump administration has “quite literally…put our lives at risk with their words and their actions.”
Last fall, CNN was sent at least three pipe bombs, among more than a dozen bombs mailed to prominent critics of Trump by one of his rabid supporters.
Trump’s administration, Zucker said at Wednesday’s annual awards-dispensing ceremony, “does not tolerate a free and independent press.”
Zucker called the decision to sue the White House to restore Jim Acosta’s press credentials the easiest decision of his career.
It was an evening of much Trump bashing, though not necessarily by name.
“We’re here tonight at a deadly serious moment even as we celebrate,” CNN contributor/WaPo Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein said as he introduced Zucker.
“I don’t know of a moment that’s more perilous for the country, for reporting, for the truth and for the First Amendment,” Bernstein acknowledged.
To that point, Jamal Khashoggi’s Washington Post editor Karen Attiah accepted the trade org’s award on behalf of the columnist who was assassinated inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by the crown prince MBS according to U.S. intelligence agencies – a finding that has been rejected by Trump.
“It’s painful to hear journalism, our most important democratic freedom, called out as Fake News and to witness the pervasive and what sometimes feels like the deliberate destruction of our national disclosure,” ABC News chief Jeff Goldston chimed in as he picked up his trophy.
And, in case anyone had any questions as to the star status of Gayle King over at CBS News these days, the division’s new president Susan Zirinsky presenting a trophy to correspondent David Begnaud, said she was here to celebrate “someone very special at CBS — R. Kelly.”
She was kidding. Mostly.