September 29, 2022

As Hurricane Ian churned toward Florida, a news clip predicting death and destruction tore its own path on social media.

“See this? Melbourne, Daytona Beach, all the way up to Jacksonville, this moves 20 miles to the west and you and everyone you know are dead,” former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith says in the clip, gesturing at a screen showing a projected storm path along Florida’s east coast. “All of you. Because you can’t survive it. It’s not possible unless you’re very, very lucky. And your kids die, too.”

But Smith left Fox News in 2019, and this clip is even older.

An Instagram post sharing it was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The clip in the post shows Smith, who now anchors a show on CNBC, talking in 2016 about Hurricane Matthew, a Category 5 hurricane that never made landfall in Florida though it caused widespread flooding and several people died.

But before Matthew skirted Florida, state officials and meteorologists feared a direct hit.

“Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate,” then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott said. “This is going to kill people.”

In that 2016 broadcast, Smith was speaking to residents who were ignoring the state’s evacuation orders.

We rate claims that this clip is current, and related to Hurricane Ian, False.

This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources here and more of their fact checks here.

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Ciara O'Rourke is a contributing writer for PolitiFact. Previously, Ciara covered local government and public safety for the Austin American-Statesman and fact-checked elected officials and…
Ciara O'Rourke

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