CNN President Jeff Zucker Interested in Hiring 'Great Journalist' Shepard Smith After Fox Departure


CNN’s president said that he would be “very open to talking” to former Fox  News anchor Shepard Smith when he is able to take a new job.

Jeff Zucker made a series of comments about Smith and Fox News during an onstage interview at the network’s Citizen conference on Thursday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“I think Shep’s a great journalist,” he told CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter. “When he’s available, he is somebody who is very talented and I would be very open to talking to him.”

Smith abruptly left Fox News on Oct. 11 to “begin a new chapter.” Per his contract with the network, he isn’t able to take a new job right away.

Smith was the chief news anchor at Fox News and managing editor of the network’s breaking news team.

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“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 said in signing off.

Zucker defended his interest in talking to Smith and said, “It’s my belief that we should represent those out there who support Trump, what they think.”

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“It is hard to find people who will come on and support the president’s view. We need those voices, and I think there’s a place for them,” he said.

In the same breath though, Zucker said that Fox News is “not a journalistic organization” and “completely erroneous.”

“We don’t set out to be pro-Trump. We don’t set out to be anti-Trump. We set out to be pro-truth,” he said about his own network.

Smith has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism, and President Donald Trump even took a jab at him when he heard that he was leaving the network.

Trump was asked if his administration pressured Fox News to oust Smith, according to a White House media pool report.

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“No, I don’t know. Is he leaving?” Trump said. Upon being told Smith was, in fact, leaving Fox, Trump said, “Oh, that’s a shame.”

Trump then took on the role of the questioner.

“Is he leaving because of bad ratings?” Trump asked.

“Tell me. I don’t know. He has terrible ratings. Is he leaving because of his ratings?” Trump said. After being told to ask Smith, Trump added, “I mean, if he’s leaving, I assume he is leaving because he had bad ratings…

“He had the worst ratings on Fox, so there’s a reason — why is Shepard Smith leaving?”

After being told he would have to ask Smith, Trump ended the conversation by saying, “Well, I wish him well. I wish Shepard Smith well.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith