Fox News host Shepard Smith said Thursday that "journalists are not the enemies of the people" in a searing commentary a day after the White House refused to allow a CNN reporter to cover a Rose Garden event featuring President Donald Trump.
"It's quite the opposite," said Smith on his afternoon newscast following the administration's decision to exclude CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins to attend a press event with Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
"Our profession is enshrined in the Constitution — and the Fourth Estate holds the essential job of being your eyes and often ears and, when appropriate, your voice," Smith said.
"It's a cornerstone of our republic."
Fox News President Jay Wallace also sided with CNN over the debacle.
Smith, 54, who said he has worked at Fox for 22 years, noted his colleagues and other journalists "operate in the public interest."
"We work to discern what is truth," he said. "Then to present it to you in context and with perspective.
"As your representatives in the people's halls, we report to you without fear or favor while striving to hold those in power to the same standards.
"This is the foundation of what we do," Smith continued. "It's our reason for being, our purpose.
"Please know this: I acknowledge many thousands of your complaints and protestations — and in doing so, I offer this: Never have I personally misrepresented the truth to you.
"Our reports are checked, rechecked, and approved at the editorial-management level of this network.
"In the event I make a mistake, I tell you and correct it in a timely and appropriate manner," Smith said.
"As an aside, when the president attacks journalists, we question his motivation and try to discover the underlying reason.
"For, historically, those who regularly and as a matter of pattern attack the messenger, who degrade and belittle the purveyors of truth, and work to diminish the free press, often find the facts displeasing and endeavor to keep you from knowing them.
"We are on guard and we hope — politics aside, for the greater good — that you are, too."
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