It was one of the most decisive moments in recent history for Fox News. And it has proven to be one of its most controversial.
There has been rampant speculation about who made the call, which Arizonans testify was made while voters were still in line in an extraordinarily tight race.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey himself castigated the network for making the early call.
“It’s far too early to call the election in Arizona,” Ducey wrote. “Election Day votes are not fully reported, and we haven’t even started to count early ballots dropped off at the polls. In AZ, we protected Election Day. Let’s count the votes — all the votes — before making declarations.”
Trump adviser Jason Miller also ripped the network over the call.
“Fox News is a complete outlier in calling Arizona, and other media outlets should not follow suit,” Miller wrote. “There are still 1M+ Election Day votes out there waiting to be counted – we pushed our people to vote on Election Day, but now Fox News is trying to invalidate their votes!”
“We only need 61% of the outstanding, uncounted Election Day votes in Arizona to win. These votes are coming from “our counties,” and the 61% figure is very doable based on what our other Election Day votes are looking like,” he added. “FoxNews should retract their call immediately.”
Business Insider now reports that in Michael Wolff’s forthcoming book, Landslide there is a scene where Lachlan Murdoch got a call from Fox’s election desk about calling Arizona. The following is directly from the Business Insider report.
The book [notes] that the Murdochs—who spearhead a vast right-wing media empire—had “every reason” to delay calling Arizona at the time, given Fox’s steadfast allegiance to Trump and the fact that no other network had made the call yet. “Lachlan got his father on the phone to ask if he wanted to make the early call. His father, with signature grunt, assented, adding, ‘F— him,’” Wolff wrote. The book [says] that Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer then called Trump’s lead social media strategist,Jason Miller, to let him know the network was going to call Arizona for Biden. “Miller involuntarily rose from his seat. ‘What the f—?’ he said out loud, looking around and seeing the still-merry and untroubled faces in the Map Room”…Wolff wrote. Hemmer reportedly replied: “That’s what they’re doing. That’s what they’re going with.”
“Who?” Miller asked.
“The election desk,” Hemmer said, adding that the network’s decision was going to be aired imminently. The decision to call Arizona for Biden was a pivotal moment on election night, indicating the Democrat was poised to win the traditionally Republican-leaning state and complicating Trump’s ability to declare an early victory in the overall race.
Rupert Murdoch thus personally made the decision to allow Fox News to call Arizona for Joe Biden in the 2020 election, according to the forthcoming book.
The state was competitive at the time of the call. Arizona had not voted for a Democratic president since Bill Clinton in 1996.
The fallout from the Arizona election is still ongoing, as an independent audit has provoked tremendous controversy. But at least Americans now know who ultimately made the call that Arizona went to Biden.