Rupert Murdoch personally made the decision to let Fox News broadcast that it had called Arizona to Joe Biden in the 2020 election, a new book reveals.
Donald Trump and his aides were furious when Fox News became the first network on election night to call Arizona Biden. And the founder of News Corp. was behind the decision, Michael Wolff revealed in his forthcoming book ‘Landslide’.
On election night, Murdoch’s son Lachlan, CEO of Fox Corporation, received a call from the network’s election data operation shortly after noon. 23 ET and said they were ready to declare Arizona Biden.
The state was very competitive during the competition and had not gone to a Democrat since Bill Clinton in 1996. Biden and Trump both fought hard for the state, with Biden winning a coveted endorsement from Cindy McCain.
According to an excerpt published by Business Insider, Wolff notes in his book that the Murdoch family had ‘every reason’ to delay calling Arizona, given Fox’s position on Trump and the fact that no other network had yet made the call.
‘Lachlan got his father on the phone asking if he would make the early call. His father approved with the signature, adding ‘F — him,’ ‘Wolff wrote.
Rupert Murdoch personally made the decision to let Fox News broadcast that it had called Arizona to Joe Biden in the 2020 election
Donald Trump and his aides were furious when Fox News became the first network to make the call
Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer called Trump strategist Jason Miller to tell him the network would call Arizona Biden.
Miller got up from his seat. ‘What the f ***?’ he said aloud.
Fox News denied Hemmer’s commitment, as described in the book.
‘This never happened and is completely untrue,’ a spokesman said.
Trump beat Wolff and other authors of forthcoming books about his presidency in a blanket release released Friday, calling them ‘fiction’.
‘It seems to me that a total waste of time is meeting with authors of the ridiculous number of books written about my very successful administration, or me. They write whatever they want to write without sources, fact checking or asking if an event is true or false or not. Honestly, so many stories are inventive or pure fiction, ‘he said.
Michael Wolff’s book ‘Landslide’ is on 13 July
But Trump became furious over Fox’s election calls and trashed the network on Twitter in the wake of the election.
The Associated Press soon followed up calling Arizona, but other news channels persevered.
Despite pressure from Trump administration officials, Fox stood by his call. Biden won Arizona by about 10,000 votes and re-counts again confirmed his victory.
The network announced Biden’s victory at. 23.20 on election night.
Trump broke out in anger and asked others in the White House to “change that result,” a senior official told The Washington Post at the time.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows called Fox News’ decision-making service while senior adviser Hope Hicks, who had returned to the White House following a spell at Fox Corp., got in touch with Raj Shah, a former Trump White House staffer. , which she hired from Fox, to get the call reversed.
Former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway reached out to Fox News political chief anchor Bret Baier to complain. And White House senior adviser Jared Kushner contacted Rupert Murdoch to try to get it withdrawn.
Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump together in June 2016, when Trump was the presumed Republican candidate for president
But the network stood firm. And Fox decision-making team chief Arnon Mishkin went on the air to explain his call and stand by it.
The real danger was that Fox could be the first news anchor to call the presidential battle for Biden. With Arizona’s 11 ballots in its column, Biden just needed Nevada’s six ballots – a state where he had a comfortable lead – to take the White House.
But no news organizations called Nevada first. Instead, Pennsylvania’s 20 ballots were allocated to Biden, giving him the presidency without the Democrat needing Arizona.