Fox News anchor Shepard Smith delivered Monday a stern rebuke to U.S. politicians who have sought to restrict the flow of Syrian refugees to the country after the Paris attacks, which left at least 129 dead and hundreds more injured.
Like a similar critique issued Monday by President Barack Obama at the G-20 summit in Turkey, Smith refrained from going after specific individuals, but his comments were clearly aimed at the mostly Republican governors across the country who have announced they will not accept any of the 10,000 Syrian refugees expected to arrive in the country by the end of 2016.
"In the face of terror, will we panic, or be calm and deliberative in approach?" Smith said in a heartfelt if stilted delivery. "Confronted with those who want to change our way of life, will we abandon our freedoms and the rights granted to us by the Creator or will we welcome huddled masses yearning to breathe free?"
"Our shining city on a hill is vulnerable. We've always known that. If we change it to accommodate the savages, have they won? And what then would be left to protect? We profess to stand as an example for all the world. Our unique experiment in freedom, tolerance, openness and equality is our gift to societies and peoples everywhere. Come, join us. Enjoy a chance at the American dream. Today, we mourn, but we cannot allow ourselves to become like those who want to destroy us. We cannot resort to the tactics of the barbarians. We must fight for what we believe in and who we are, guard our freedoms faithfully for the generations to follow. And we must not let the rhetoric of potential and political extremists among us lead us to self-destruction. When there's panic, we show resolve. When there's calm for extremism, we resist. We are America. We must lead."
Smith's soliloquy — reminiscent of former MSNBC pundit Keith Olbermann's signature end-of-show pontifications — was not the first time the anchor has broken with the traditional, right-leaning editorial line of Fox News and the Rupert Murdoch empire.
Earlier this month, Smith could barely contain his disdain for the reporting around Fox Lake, Illinois, Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz, whose death in September led authorities on a wild goose chase, and drew accusations that anti-police rhetoric from movements like #BlackLivesMatter had inspired his killing. In fact, Gliniewicz's death was later found to be a carefully staged suicide, intended to cover up a history of embezzlement and drug abuse.
And during Fox News' coverage of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Smith said one could "succinctly" argue that the United States was better off than when Obama first took office in the midst of the economic crisis, a train of thought his fellow interlocutor, Chris Wallace, was inclined (sort of) to agree with, affirming that "there's no question" has stepped back from "the precipice" during Obama's tenure,
Smith has even laced into his own network on occasion, as he did during Fox's coverage of the Shirley Sherrod affair in 2010. Sherrod, a federal bureaucrat, was fired after deceptive editing of a speech she gave appeared to suggest that she engaged in racial bias, when in fact it was not the case. "We now know ... her current mission was to help the poor and disadvantaged of any and all races. The video, taken completely out of context, it ran all over the Internet, and television, including on this network."
So will the rogue Fox anchor continue to be a champion for Syrian refugees, regardless of faith? Stay tuned.