The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

An impassioned plea for accepting Syrian refugees — from Fox News [Video]

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With roughly half the nation’s governors saying their states want no part of Syrian refugee resettlement efforts and Republican presidential candidates arguing against President Obama’s plan to accept at least 10,000 refugees, many in the media (including The Post’s editorial board) have contended that the United States should not abandon its long history as a safe haven.

This is exactly what you’d expect from the “liberal” mainstream media, right?

But imagine the surprise if you saw the same view expressed on Fox News. Actually, don’t imagine. Just watch Shepard Smith, who has anchored much of the cable network’s coverage of terrorist attacks on Paris.

Smith broke out of newscaster mode Monday and delivered his commentary on proposals to close U.S. borders to Syrians: “Will we take extreme measures to fundamentally alter who and what we are? Our 'shining city on a hill' is vulnerable. We've always known that. If we change it to accommodate the savages, have they won? And what then would be left to protect? … Today we mourn, but we cannot allow ourselves to become like those who want to destroy us. We cannot resort to the tactics of the barbarians. … And we must not let the rhetoric of potential and political extremists among us lead us to self-destruction.”

Et tu, Brute?

Some viewers seem to feel like Caesar, stabbed in the back.

Smith, as regular Fox News viewers know, has long been the subject of does-he-belong-on-this-channel conversations.

As a matter of fact, those tweets about MSNBC aren’t so wildly off-base. MSNBC president Phil Griffin told the Hollywood Reporter in 2012 that he’d like to hire Smith.

When Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage during the campaign that year, Smith said on-air that the president was “now in the 21st century.”

Even Smith’s reading habits have been parsed by conservatives. When he told the Los Angeles Times in 2013 that he consumes news from the likes of the New York Times, Talking Points Memo and, yes, The Washington Post, the Breitbart Web site blared, “Shep Smith’s reading list revealed: lefty, lefty, leftist!”

Smith’s Syrian sympathy is merely the latest reason for Fox News viewers to wonder what he’s doing on their favorite channel. But it’s also cause for the network’s detractors to acknowledge that Fox, despite the clear rightward leanings of many of its commentators, does allow different opinions on its air.