O’Reilly on Shep: ‘independent Southern guy’

The Boston Globe profiles Fox’s Shepard Smith, perhaps the only nightly star on Murdoch’s network to be regularly criticized by the right and praised by the left.

Smith is one of many Fox News journalists who stress a separation between the news and opinion sides: “editorial’’ and “programming,’’ respectively, in the network’s in-house par-lance. But while Smith had his moment with Hannity and has been known to mock Beck on the air, relations are clearly cordial. O’Reilly, who sits in the office next to Smith’s, says his colleague represents the Fox News tradition of “vibrant debate in the hallways.’’

“He’s an independent Southern guy who brings a sensibility of populism to the presentation,’’ O’Reilly says by phone. “He has a very consistent view of life. When he went to Katrina, he was horrified. And he let the audience know he was horrified instead of standing there like a robot.’’

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