Fox News anchor Shepard Smith scolded State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki Thursday for running through her routine press briefing just hours after a civilian airliner was reported shot down over a war zone in eastern Ukraine, calling the move “highly inappropriate.”
Smith had cut to Psaki’s daily briefing with the hopes of receiving new information about the shootdown, which killed 295 people — including a reported 23 Americans — on board the Malaysian Airlines flight.
But the anchor was frustrated when the spokeswoman began instead with a rundown of recent audits from the Afghan presidential election — something no one in that briefing room cared a whit about in that moment.
“Well, this is, uh, just highly inappropriate, I would say,” Smith said. “Each day, the State Department has a briefing. Each day, there are State Department reporters that are there, that is their beat, they are assigned to be there. And you get a long list of things going on all over the world, and then you get to ask questions.”
“Today, a Malaysian Airlines jet has fallen from the sky over a war zone, and the State Department is beginning with routine matters,” he continued incredulously. “You figure it out. I can’t figure that out.”
“Jennifer Griffin, I can’t believe what just happened,” Smith said, kicking it over to Fox’s national security correspondent.
“That’s the State Department, Shep,” she responded with a tired laugh. “I’m not surprised.” She added that despite wide-scale U.S. satellite surveillance of that region, the government is refusing to release any information or speculate on the shoot-down and who may be responsible.
Psaki addressed the plane about four minutes later, but refused to comment or offer any additional information possessed by the State Department or the United States government.