I’m not easily impressed by celebrities. Just because someone is famous doesn’t make them worthy of honor — often their fame and their subsequent intoxication by it makes them quite unworthy of honor and generally annoying in my opinion. I’m not saying that Shepard Smith is an honorable man. I honestly don’t know. But in the days following Hurricane Katrina, as politicians and pundants wasted valuable time pointing fingers at one another attempting to place the blame on somebody else’s shoulders, I saw Shepard Smith on a freeway overpass. An overpass that I have driven on many times. But instead of cars and trucks, it was filled with weary, desparate people who had not eaten nor even had clean water to drink in days. And instead of going for the “money shot” (the dead bodies scattered upon that vast stretch on concrete and steel) or allowing himself to be brought into some ridiculous conservative versus liberal debate, he stood there on that bridge and said the very words that I was screaming at my television: “Send help. Tiny babies are not getting formula and there are elderly people who are in desparate need of medical attention.” To whomever would listen he pleaded for someone to simply come and help. His frustration with the situation was obvious, and his outrage, while not fully expressed, was palattable and sincere. (Which, incidentally, was in stark contrast to Geraldo Rivera’s pathetic grandstanding outside the Superdome with a tiny baby held up in front of the cameras and saying without words “Look how incredibly compassionate I am”. But that’s another tangent — don’t EVEN get me started.) The following is a quote taken from a recent bio I read about Shepard Smith. It is in response to a question about an exchange between Sean Hannity and Smith after Hannity asked about “perspective”:
When I told Sean Hannity, “That’s all the perspective you need,” I was aware that thousands of people were living on a freeway in 95-degree weather, that some of them needed insulin, and some of them needed baby formula, and right over that bridge those things existed, and they weren’t allowed to go there. That was my whole world. I did not know that the rest of the world had turned this political. How the f*ck could they have done that? I was so astonished to get on one of our opinion programs — Hannity & Colmes — and to learn that the rest of the world was apparently thinking of Katrina in terms of left and right, R and D. Poverty is not a new thing to me. Segregation is not a new thing. But that these happen to be the people who are now in need, and no leadership is emerging to give them what they need, was beyond all reason. So that was all the perspective he needed. [Sean] just didn’t know that.
I have always liked Shepard Smith, but after that coverage I became a fan – mostly because he made it very clear to the viewer that these were human beings in dire need of attention, not just some breaking news story. In my opinion, he is someone that takes the business of reporting the news very seriously. He does not however, take himself or the media circus that he often finds himself the unwitting ring master of very seriously.
The following video is not a commentary on whether or not I think OJ Simpson is a murderer, whether justice can truly be blind when a celebrity is involved, or my personal opinion of Fox News Channel. The reason for this post has nothing to do with the aforementioned topics. I am posting this video because when it originally aired in November of 2007, I thought it was just about the most outrageously funny commentary I’ve ever heard on television. And because, as the title of the post indicates, I heart Shepard Smith.
(Did you catch the part at the end where he gave out that guy’s email address? Classic!)