Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh complained on Thursday about Fox News host Shepard Smith’s commentary calling for news outlets to cover the burgeoning concerns about Ebola in the U.S. more responsibly.
“Shep Smith was crying so much during his reporting from New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina, his mascara was running,” Limbaugh groused. “But we need to dial it all back here — video, TV, print, loud voices seeking ratings. Who is it that’s always touting their ratings, by the way? Is it Fox?”
Limbaugh’s remark was a reference to allegations concerning Smith’s sexuality. Smith has denounced such statements in the past as “horsesh*t.” And as the Associated Press reported at the time, Smith’s work reporting on the ground during the 2005 hurricane elevated his profile.
One highlight of Smith’s emotional coverage of the aftermath of Katrina was his commentary to host Sean Hannity that government officials were preventing residents from leaving New Orleans to nearby Gretna, Louisiana for help.
“Over there, there’s hope,” Smith told Hannity. “Over there, there’s electricity. Over there, there is food and water. But you cannot go from there to there. The government will not allow you to do it. It’s a fact.”
When Hannity interrupted and said he wanted to call for some “perspective,” Smith loudly replied, “That is perspective! That is all the perspective you need!”
The discussion can be seen as part of this video retrospective focusing on Smith and Geraldo Rivera:
On Wednesday, Smith criticized Fox correspondent Doug McKelway for using the phrase “widespread panic” during a report.
“We don’t have an outbreak,” Smith said. “We have two sick people from one dying man. And the rest of this should stop, because it’s not productive. And it’s not worth ratings, and it’s not worth politics, and we all need to stop it.”
According to a transcript of Thursday’s show, he tied Smith’s commentary in to a longer list of things he blames on progressives.
“I just want you to understand, the same people who are illustrating their blatant incompetence in all of this, they’re the same people telling you that there is global warming,” Limbaugh said, ignoring an overwhelming majority of scientific evidence. “They are the same people telling you you’re not paying enough in taxes. The same people that promised you shovel-ready jobs and stimulus spending. These are the same people that told you you could keep your doctor. The same people told you you can keep your insurance plan if you liked it, lied to you about that, same people.”
Limbaugh wasn’t the only conservative host who reacted snidely to Smith’s commentary; as Right Wing Watch reported, Christian talk show host Bryan Fischer accused Smith of making his statements solely because he is a “gay liberal” covering for President Barack Obama.
Listen to Limbaugh’s remarks, as posted by Media Matters on Thursday, below.