Published 9:58 AM EDT Oct 14, 2019
Carl Cameron, a former Fox News reporter who was with the channel for more than 20 years, is voicing his concerns after Shepard Smith shocked by announcing his departure Friday.
Cameron, who says his "Campaign Carl" moniker came courtesy of Smith, appeared on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday to discuss the impact his former colleague's exit may have on the channel.
"There are an awful lot of really good journalists at Fox News Channel. It's just that they're vastly outnumbered by the opinion makers, and the opinion makers are more interested in playing to people's bias than anything else," said Cameron. "And it makes it very difficult for journalists to actually give people honest facts when the air time is shrinking constantly."
Cameron also expressed his concern over those who will be filling Smith's slot. "If they're actually news journalists, then that'll be a good sign for the 3:00 hour," Cameron said, "and if it's not, if it's opinion mavens, then that'll be just another big chunk of real journalism that won't exist there."
Until the network names a permanent replacement, it will become an hour-long news show titled "Fox News Reporting," featuring a rotating cast of anchors, the network announced in a news release.
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"Over the course of the Trump administration, more and more, the opinion hosts have been criticizing the journalists," Cameron said, "and so, that really pits bias against straight journalism… That's a huge part of what frustrates the journalists at Fox News because they shouldn't be arguing with people who are there to comment on the news and completely neglect what was just by the journalists."
Friday, while appearing on MSNBC's "The Beat with Ari Melber," Cameron called Smith's leaving "a big loss" for the news source.
"It is a real sad day for people who watch Fox News and want accurate information," he assessed, "'cause Shep was somebody who you could reliably count on."
"The reality is that without Shep’s show, Fox News’ 24 hour news wheel is down to really the Bret Baier show ("Special Report with Bret Baier")… Most of the rest is predominantly talk," said Cameron. "It's predominantly supportive of a president who is violating all kinds of American values, laws, rules, precedents, etc., etc., and the American people need to hear that so they can make good judgments. Otherwise, it’s just propaganda, and that’s the stuff of third-world nations, not the one that prides itself as a leader of all nations.”
USA TODAY has reached out to Fox News for comment about Cameron's remarks.
Cameron, who left Fox News in 2017, hasn't been shy with his criticisms of his former employer. In a video for Front Page Live, a news source for which he serves as chief political correspondent, Cameron disparaged his former network.
"I was one of Fox's first hires," he recalled. "The idea of fair and balanced news appealed to me, but over the years, right-wing hosts drowned out straight journalism with partisan misinformation. I left."
Opinion: Shepard Smith leaving Fox News is a stunning blow to real journalism
During Smith's Friday afternoon show, he announced his decision "to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter," after increasing clashes with the network's prime time opinion hosts.
He said his departure was voluntary: "After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged. The opportunities afforded this guy from small-town Mississippi have been many. It’s been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor."
His emotional on-air speech continued: "Even in our currently polarized nation, it's my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive."
Smith, the network's chief news anchor and managing editor of its breaking news unit, has worked at Fox News since its inception in 1996.
Contributing: Sara M. Moniuszko and Hannah Yasharoff