Fox News senior political correspondent, Brit Hume, and top-rated prime-time host, Tucker Carlson, both expressed surprise and frustration at their network, for making a premature victory call for Arizona, on behalf of Joe Biden Tuesday night, while hesitating to call states that President Donald Trump appeared to be carrying.
The network was the first to call the race in Arizona for the Democratic presidential nominee, along with the U.S Senate contest for Democratic challenger, Mark Kelly, against incumbent GOP Sen. Martha McSally.
By Wednesday morning, however, Arizona had been taken off the ‘win’ column for Biden, though The New York Times Senate election tracker, indicated that Kelly has won his race against McSally. If that holds, it means, in a span of two years, both of the state’s Senate seats that were long held by Republicans Jeff Flake and the late John McCain, have flipped blue.
Fox News politics editor, Chris Stirewalt, as well as Decision Desk head, Arnon Mishkin, both appeared on the network, to defend the early Arizona call. “I’m sorry, we’re not wrong,” Mishkin said.
But network anchor, Bret Baier, noted during the segment, that his phone was “lighting up” with calls from Republicans and Team Trump officials, who were complaining that it was far too early to make the call.
Hume became clearly exasperated, at one point, that Arizona had been called, but other states where polls closed hours earlier — in Georgia and North Carolina, for instance — had yet to be called. Both states remain in the ‘undecided’ column Wednesday morning.
— Matthew Betley 🇺🇸 (@MatthewBetley) November 4, 2020
Just spoke to AZ Governor Doug Ducey's office. There are at least 900,000 votes outstanding that haven't been counted. About half are Maricopa. W/ every update, they say it's breaking significantly toward Trump 2-1.
Doesn't mean a Trump win, but that's still a lot of uncounted
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) November 4, 2020
CNN: They are still counting votes in Arizona.
Fox News: We used polling data.
This is insane.
— thebradfordfile (@thebradfordfile) November 4, 2020
🔥 Just got off the phone with a senior Trump campaign adviser:
"Fox News is behaving like a Super PAC for the DNC tonight. I have no idea what they are thinking. We will win. They have misled America. Who is going to be fired for this at @FoxNews?"
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) November 4, 2020
Carlson also pushed back, noting that even Arizona governor, Doug Ducey, said Fox News called the state too early.
“There has been a great deal of pushback from the President, his staff, and the governor of Arizona,” Carlson said.
“I’m not privy to the math, I’m not certain how that — even after the explanation from Chris Stirewalt — how that decision was made, so I’m sure there’s a reason for it,” he continued. “I don’t know what it is. I know that people are very concerned about the media in general. I think our viewers trust us, but people are concerned.”
The prime time host also dismissed the suggestion that pre-election polling was accurate as well.
“It’s just not true. If it were true, The New York Times wouldn’t have given Joe Biden a 70 percent chance this morning of winning Florida,. Some were good, some were bad,” he said.
Carlson then riffed on the media industry in general, saying “we should be honest about the times that we were wrong.”
That prompted Baier to ask, “Is the polling industry dead?”
“I really hope so,” Carlson responded. “I can name some of the people that should be fired immediately. And I think I will. I just need to calm down enough to get their names on paper.”
Carlson went on to say, that the media industry tends to excuse its mistakes when they prevent it from getting “better.”
“We in the media are particularly good at pretending there’s some reason that we misled our viewers or our readers, and we really should stop doing that because too much is at stake,” he said.
“The first way to fix it is by holding people accountable, and that’s just by firing them, and they can go do something useful like hang drywall or learn to paint or do something else,” he continued. “But they cannot keep discrediting the work of the rest of us by screwing up in the way that they have.
“I think that’s a fair ask,” Carlson concluded.
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