Fox anchor: "We are America! We do not f---ing torture!"

Shepard Smith is angry about torture, and even on Fox News, he's not afraid to say it.

Published April 23, 2009 3:45PM (EDT)

Of all the reporters and anchors on Fox News, Shepard Smith is almost certainly the best, and often one of the most entertaining. That "what's he going to do next?" sense of anticipation you might get from, say, watching Glenn Beck pretend to douse a colleague with gasoline is there with Smith, too, but in a different, much more authentic way. When he's angry, he's genuinely angry, and though it doesn't happen too often, when it does, he's by no means afraid to show it.

Right now, Smith is angry about torture. And yes, even on Fox News, he's calling it that, and getting very heated about what happened under the Bush administration. On Wednesday, he provided viewers two especially interesting glimpses into his feelings on the subject.

In the first, he faced off against Cliff May, the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and bluntly dismissed May's arguments that what had been done to detainees, and what was described in OLC memos released last week, wasn't torture. "Of course, we know what the problem is, we know what this is, though, Cliff -- this isn't about what's torture. What this is about is a series of dots which people are now mentally connecting... If there was torture, that's a crime. If there was crime, there were criminals who ordered the torture," Smith said. "That's the problem. It's political. And the right is going, 'Get away from George Bush and his administration, it's over, remember look forward? Remember look forward?' And the other side's going, 'This is torture.'" In an odd twist of fate, he was helped out in his arguments against May by former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who's now a Fox contributor. (Hat-tip to Nico Pitney.)

For the most part, Smith was able to keep his composure while on the air. But when he went to the network's online show, "The Strategy Room," things were a little different, and and one point he just gave up and yelled, banging his hand against the desk, "We are America! I don't give a rat's ass if it helps! We are America! We do not fucking torture!"

Both videos are below.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Torture War Room