Shepard Smith has been lying low since he abruptly left Fox News last month, but he reemerged Thursday in New York with quite a bang, and lots of bucks. The New York Times reports Smith served as the emcee of the International Press Freedom Awards, the annual black-tie fundraiser for the Committee to Protect Journalists, and while the frequent Trump critic didn't mention the president by name, he defended the press and went after powerful people who attack reporters. "Intimidation and vilification of the press is now a global phenomenon," Smith, who Trump often turned into an online target, told the group gathered at the Grand Hyatt. "We don't have to look far for evidence of that." He continued: "Autocrats have learned how to use ... online tools to shore up their power. They flood the world of information with garbage and lies, masquerading as news. There's a phrase for that."
Then, per the Washington Post, Smith praised the CPJ—which assists journalists around the globe dealing with government oppression—for its efforts to help free two of his former Fox colleagues when they were being held captive in Gaza in 2006. Smith followed that with an announcement that drew gasps and a standing ovation. "CPJ is always there for us, and I'm personally so thankful for everyone involved in this organization," Smith said. "So tonight, I'm donating a half a million dollars to this cause." He added: "Press freedom is not the preserve of one political group or one political party. It's a value embedded in our very foundational documents. Journalists need to join hands to defend it.” (Read more Shepard Smith stories.)