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Gossip writer Michael Wolff has claimed in his latest book that Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corp., approved the decision to call Arizona on election night 2020, and that he did so out of apparent spite for then-President Donald Trump.
Wolff has also alleged that after receiving the instructions from Murdoch, Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer called the then-president’s campaign to give them a head’s up.
These dubious allegations are detailed in “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency,” which is slated for release on the 13th, but which Insider has been able to review in advance.
According to Insider, the author claims in the book that Murdoch’s son, Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch, received a call from the number crunchers at Fox News around 11:00 pm on election night.
The number crunchers reportedly told Lachlan that they were ready to call the election in Arizona for then-Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, and so Lachlan then dialed up his father to see what he wanted to do.
“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 reportedly writes in his new book.
That’s a BIG accusation, but is it true? Not according to Fox News.
“This account is completely false. Arnon Mishkin who leads the FOX News Decision Desk made the Arizona call on election night and FOX News Media President Jay Wallace was then called in the control room. Any other version of the story is wildly inaccurate,” the network said in a statement to Insider.
According to Wolff, after Murdoch allegedly greenlit the calling of Arizona, Hemmer then allegedly called Trump campaign official Jason Miller to give him a head’s up on the call.
Miller, who at the time had been sitting among a group of campaign officials, allegedly got up in shock and exclaimed, “What the f–k?”
“That’s what they’re doing. That’s what they’re going with,” Hemmer allegedly replied.
“Who?” Miller allegedly asked.
“The election desk,” Hemmer allegedly replied.
Fox News has also denied this allegation.
“This never happened and is completely false,” the network said in a statement to Mediaite.
Wolff is for his part sticking by his story, like he always does.
“He defended the book … and said he stood by his reporting. He also said ‘Landslide’ featured only episodes that Trump’s staff had confirmed or that were backed up by multiple sources. He did not cite any sources in his anecdote about the Murdochs’ involvement in the Arizona call,” Insider reported.
The problem is that Wolff is notorious for being a teller of tall tales — and he knows this.
After the release of his second book two years ago, “Siege: Trump Fire,” he came under heavy fire over accusations that his reporting was dead wrong.
Responding to the criticism, he told a podcast host, “Even if I was wrong, I’m not going to admit it to you.”
That was not a good look.
— Jack Furnari (@JackBPR) June 9, 2019
Wolff faced the same accusations after the release in 2018 of his infamous first book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
The build-up of accusations eventually culminated with him being confronted face-to-face by “The View” co-host Meghan McCain.
“The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, New York Times’ John Martin, David Brooks, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, Tony Blair, Tom Barrack, Kate Walsh, Anna Wintour [are] all denying quotes [from your book],” she said to him.
“[You wrote] The Washington Post reporter Mark Berman was in the Four Seasons the same time as Ivanka Trump. You admitted mixing up Mark with Mike Berman. [You misstated] the age of the White House communications director. There are a lot of factual errors in here. What do you say to people?” she added.
He fessed up to the name mix-up but doubled down on the rest of his “reporting” just like he’s doubling down now.
Wolff reportedly also claims in his new book that Trump was furious at Fox News for calling Arizona “early.”
He allegedly complained that the Murdochs were “always trying to f–k him,” Wolff reportedly wrote.
“He was the golden goose at Fox, and what did that get him? They owed him, but they had screwed him,” according to Wolff.
While there’s no proof — besides Wolff’s words — for this particular claim, it is known for a fact that the then-president had been peeved at Fox News.
“Trump ranted about Fox’s Arizona call during a startling false victory speech Wednesday morning, claiming the network was not actually confident in a Biden win, even though Fox’s decision desk director Arnon Mishkin said on-air that he is ‘absolutely’ sure the call is accurate,” Forbes reported at the time.
Miller meanwhile posted the following tweet accusing Fox News of being “so anxious to pull the trigger.”
WAY too soon to be calling Arizona…way too soon. We believe over 2/3 of those outstanding Election Day voters are going to be for Trump. Can’t believe Fox was so anxious to pull the trigger here after taking so long to call Florida. Wow.
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) November 4, 2020
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