Fox News commentators rarely meet a foot they don't enjoy putting squarely in their mouths, but Shep Smith wins this week's biggest seriously?!? moment.
Fox, like every network, scrambled to cover Robin Williams' suicide death Monday. Most of the broadcasts were of remembrances, friends and costars eulogizing Williams and appreciation of his body of work.
Smith took a different approach.
"It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?” Smith said, discussing Williams' depression and his three children. "You could love three little things so much, watch them grow, they're in their mid-20s, and they’re inspiring you and exciting you and they fill you up with the kind of joy you could never have known.
"And yet something inside you is so horrible -- or you’re such a coward or whatever the reason -- that you decide that you have to end it. Robin Williams, at 63, did that today."
Even if Smith has never suffered from depression or watched a loved one struggle, is it really so impossible -- and a time when so much information and first-hand accounts are available -- to show just a pinch of empathy? That Williams couldn't see a way out of his depression other than taking his life is a stark lesson of depression's awful reaches into your inner core.
Smith wasn't the only news entity guilty of sheer stupidity. ABC inexplicably trained cameras on Williams' house for a live feed after the news broke. Twitter users immediately and succinctly called the network out on this ghoulish, inappropriate behavior.
Of course, Smith tried to backtrack from his comments.
"What I wanted to do is celebrate his life and find some meaning in our own lives, since we often do know someone who is reaching out, and we have a responsibility to help that person -- maybe a phone call or a door knock is in order," he said to Mediaite. Smith's idea of celebration apparently differs from the rest of the thinking Earth.
Smith apologized in his statement to Mediaite, saying he's "horrified" if any of Williams' loved ones heard the comment.
He should also apologize to anyone who ever experienced depression and all of their loved onces. If he did, Smith would realize just how extensive and pervasive depression is; almost no one is immune from being affected in some way. There's simply no excuse for anyone, much less someone with a bully pulpit, to be this ignorant about mental illness.
Stupid ignorance like Smith's has no place in the public discourse and only forces depressed people -- who already feel like they're holding onto a shameful secret -- deeper into themselves.
And when that happens, when people are convinced there's no way out, more deaths are sure to follow.