Shepard Smith quit Fox News right after Trump AG Bill Barr met with Rupert Murdoch

Sure has been one heck of a news week. And it ain't over yet.

On air Friday afternoon on Fox News, anchor Shepard Smith (Shep Smith) told viewers he has requested that management release him from his contract, and says Fox has granted this request.

"Even in our polarized nation, it's my hope that the facts will win the day," he said in an on-air farewell.

[ Read Rob Beschizza's post on Shep Smith's departure]

From Variety:

"Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter. After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged," Smith said in a statement. "The opportunities afforded this guy from small town Mississippi have been many. It's been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor. I've worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I know and I'm proud to have anchored their work each day — I will deeply miss them."

The unexpected departure takes place just a day or two after Fox big boss Rupert Murdoch is reported to have had dinner with Donald Trump's manifestly corrupt attorney general and dirtywork-doer Bill Barr.

Surely not related.

Why did he leave?

"Tensions with Fox's opinion shows was the breaking point for Shep Smith, a well-placed source confirms" to Brian Stelter at CNN.

[NOTE: An NBC News reporter first reported that Smith was escorted out of the building by security, then removed and redacted the statement, saying it was an error.]

[PHOTO: FOX News Channel's Shepard Smith anchoring Studio B, 15 November 2007, WIKIMEDIA]