You may recall that back in 2020 Fox News alone called the state of Arizona for Joe Biden. The uproar was tremendous, especially since there were hundreds of thousands of ballots left uncounted at the time.
The Trump campaign was absolutely livid as were the Trump supporters. Maybe you can cut them some slack. Perhaps Mark Brnovich called Fox and assured them there were over 1 million manufactured votes yet to be counted.
A 2020 AZCentral piece summarized what had happened that night:
In a surprise move on Tuesday night, Fox News, alone among networks, called Arizona for Joe Biden over President Donald Trump, royally ticking off the Trump campaign, reportedly and perhaps understandably.
The network made the call with Biden ahead by 7 percentage points in the race, but with hundreds of thousands of votes yet to be counted in the state, something that chief White House correspondent John Roberts noted when talking to anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, who seemed perplexed by the call.
Allegedly callers were trashing Baier for the early call, but that came from the Decision Desk and according to a new book by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, Baier was definitely not okay with his network making the early, controversial Arizona call in Biden’s favor. According to the book, Baier sent an email to Fox News president Jay Wallace, indicating, he was getting a lot of grief from the callers over the decision.
Baier reportedly added in his email to Wallace:
“This situation is getting uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable. I keep having to defend this on air.”
The analysts on the Fox News Decision Desk, in charge of announcing election results, stood by their claims and reportedly, at the time, believed that nothing was particularly shocking about their Arizona call. According to Business Insider, Baker and Glasser claim that Baier said the Decision Desk analysts, like former Fox News contributor Chris Stirewalt, only stood by the decision “for pride.”
In the email, the authors of the book claim Baier went as far as to urge Wallace to have the Fox News Decision Desk reverse the Arizona call, even at the risk of taking even more criticism.
“The sooner we pull it — even if it gives us major egg — and we put it back in his column the better we are in my opinion,” Baier reportedly said, according to the book. Wow.
The authors called the statement “stunning,” given that Arizona was never in the Trump column, even if his margin of defeat in the state narrowed just after the election. “The leading news anchor for Fox was pushing not just to say Arizona was too close to call but to pretend that the president had won it,” they wrote.
While Wallace didn’t allow the Arizona, call to be reversed, he did not allow them to call Nevada, another swing state, presumably until other outlets did. The authors claim that Wallace did not want Fox to make the call first and declare Biden the winner of the election.
Shortly after the election, Charles Stirewalt was fired. The network claimed that it was part of a restructuring strategy, but insiders claim it was all about the call for Biden in Arizona. To this day, Stirewalt continues to defend his call, most recently in front of a congressional panel.