Media critic


Shepard Smith, chief news anchor at Fox News, got a touch biographical on his afternoon news show yesterday. The popular host welcomed Fox News legal analyst Arthur Aidala to break down a proposal by a New Jersey lawmaker to lower the state’s drinking age from 21 to 18.

In running through the usual touchstones of the debate — that is, endangering federal highway funds; the argument that if you’re old enough to fight wars, you’re old enough to drink, etc. — Smith declared that a drinking age of 21 is “ridiculous,” not to mention “fully ridiculous” — though he noted that the law won’t be changing. Then the 52-year-old looked back on the old days.

I lived in Mississippi and Louisiana held out. So, like when we got grandfathered in, I was still at 18 because I was born, you know, back when Methuselah was born…But Louisiana held out for a long time, so you could still go to that drive-thru in Gretna or Kenner and get yourself a big daiquiri to go. Just hand it right to you and drink it while driving down the road, you know why? Because it’s illegal to drive drunk; it was not at the time illegal to drink and drive — which made sense, actually. This doesn’t really make sense. Mothers [Against] Drunk Driving, withhold your emails, I get that part. Don’t even bother….Nothing’s changing, so stop your worrying.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving issued this statement to the Erik Wemple Blog: “Fortunately the 21 minimum drinking age, one of the most researched public health policies in the nation, was passed and is supported by people, including the military, who value science and sound data. We agree that the 800 lives saved annually by the 21 law and their loved ones that would have been impacted is absolutely worth it. And MADD won’t be emailing Shepard Smith because our supporters will.”

Regarding Smith’s fondness for the good old days of daiquiri-assisted driving, MADD added, “No, it doesn’t make sense to literally drink and drive. Thanks to open container laws, we’ve removed the bar from the car.”