Every once in a very rare blue moon a Fox New host says something so unbelievably accurate that it leaves anyone who isn’t an ultra conservative gobsmacked with their inclination to agree. Monday was one of those extraordinary occasions. While speaking to Politico’s Rachael Bade about the nearly 200 NFL players who decided to take a knee during the national anthem in protest of racism and inequality on Sunday, Shep Smith delivered a surprisingly correct characterization of their gesture.
Challenging President Trump’s wildly offensive claim that players who knelt disrespected their flag, country, and military, Smith said “they’re not doing any of that.” And continued by uttering quite possibly the most level-headed analysis of an American protest — or perhaps anything — that I have ever heard come out of a Fox News anchor’s mouth:
“It’s very clear, that for his base, this is the red meat of all red meat, because they’re able to reframe this. They’re able to say, ‘Oh, they’re attacking the national anthem. They’re attacking the troops. They’re attacking the flag.’ None of which they’re doing. They’re not doing any of that. They’re upset about racial injustice in the country, and they’re upset about the things that the president has said. And he’s able to turn it around for his base. Isn’t this all a play to his base? And could it possibly be so that they don’t notice there is no health care and North Korea is the biggest mess since the cold war.”
But wait, it gets better. Bade’s response was not nearly as direct as Smith’s summary of the players’ protest. She essentially wrote off Trump’s attack on the NFL as a distraction and suggested that people (read: white people) generally don’t like it when another group of people “protest the national anthem.”
Shep, again, was having none of it and interjected. “Of course, they’re not protesting the national anthem. That’s not what they’re doing,” he said correcting Bade. “And we’re complicit.”
Bade, who seemed to notice that she just had her ass handed to her, attempted to correct herself, but failed. “It has become more than just about the flag, obviously, because the folks feel that the president is bullying black football players after the Charlottesville controversy just a few weeks ago,” she said.
Yeah, I’m not so sure a 71-year-old man whose diet features a staple of fast food could “bully” NFL athletes, nor do I think Bade fully comprehends why NFL players are kneeling during the national anthem since it was never “just about the flag” — but, uh, how about Shep Smith?