Fox News let Shep Smith go to avoid ‘messy public fight’ during the ‘civil war’ at the network: report
Composite image of Tucker Carlson and Shepard Smith (screengrabs)

Fox News let anchor Shepard Smith out of his contract to avoid a "messy public fight" as the network is caught up in a crisis over whether to report accurately about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Smith, who had been feuding with Tucker Carlson, had been at the network since it launched 23 years ago.

MSNBC anchor Ari Melber reminded "The Last Word" viewers on Friday night of how Smith would fact-check Trump and false stories being pushed by the far-right.

For analysis, Melber interviewed Vanity Fair special correspondent Gabriel Sherman.

Sherman is the author of the book The Loudest Voice in the Room on former Fox News President Roger Ailes that was turned into a Showtime movie starring Russell Crowe.

"I was traveling for the long weekend, but my phone started blowing up from sources. What I’ve heard from multiple people inside the network, that was a decision that was in motion several weeks ago," he reported.

"Shepard Smith had grown increasingly uncomfortable with the blanket pro-Trump tenor of the network. The Tucker Carlson feud, of course, being the final straw, and he hired a high-profile attorney to negotiate an exit out of his contract," Sherman reported. "And Fox News management decided rather than doing a messy public fight, to let him out of the deal."

"So, this is clearly a very vivid example of the civil war that has been taking place inside Fox News about how they cover Trump," he added.