Fox News anchor Shep Smith took on the narrative from the White House about what happened when CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins was "disinvited" from a media event.
'A difference without a distinction'
Smith laid out the response from the White House to a torrent of criticism from journalists after they banned Collins Wednesday from an announcement from the president in the Rose Garden at the White House.
Smith read statements of protest from CNN and the White House Correspondents' Association, and then aired video of White House deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine telling his version of what happened to reporters.
"Could you ask her if we ever used the word ban?" he asked.
When reporters asked Shine what words he used, he deflected.
"When you ask her if we ever used the word 'ban,' then I will answer that question," he responded. "You ask her, focus now, you ask her if we ever used the word 'ban.'"
"Focusing," Smith responded. "This is a difference without a distinction."
Smith then aired a statement from White House adviser Kellyanne Conway scolding the media and telling them, "civility should start at the White House."
"CNN maintains," Smith responded, "the Correspondents' Association agrees, and we at Fox News observed, that Collins was civil."
"That she asked relevant and timely questions of a president who often answers questions under identical circumstances and in the same setting," he added.
"One of our journalists might have done exactly the same," he continued. "For those of you at home, if I may, journalists are not the enemies of the people. It's quite the opposite.
"Our profession is enshrined in the Constitution," he explained, "and the fourth estate holds the essential job of being your eyes and often ears, and when appropriate, your voice. It's a cornerstone of our Republic."
Watch Shep Smith's comments below from Fox News:
Fox News' Bret Baier faced criticism from some viewers for taking the side of CNN and defending the institution of the free press. Allies of the administration accuse Collins of acting inappropriately in the Oval Office.