Bret Baier responds to fiery allegations he urged Fox to pull early and ‘uncomfortable’ Arizona election call

A new book called “The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021” is alleging that Fox News anchor Bret Baier pressured the network’s president to rescind the call for Arizona on election night in 2020 because former President Trump’s campaign was angered by it.

The book is written by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker and New Yorker staff writer and CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser. It takes direct aim at Baier, who was on the anchor desk for the network’s 2020 election night coverage, claiming that he sent an email to Fox News president and executive editor Jay Wallace during the broadcast, positing that the Trump campaign was furious.

“This situation is getting uncomfortable,” Baier reportedly wrote. “Really uncomfortable. I keep having to defend this on air.”

The alleged email also purportedly said, “The Trump campaign was really pissed.”

The authors assert that Baier thought the network was “holding on for pride” after its Decision Desk called Arizona for Biden early. Fox News was the first network to project that he had won the state and it outraged Trump supporters.

“It’s hurting us,” Baier reportedly told the network. “‘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.’”

Wallace refused and the rest is history.

According to the book, Wallace would not allow the Decision Desk to call Nevada for Biden even after other networks because he “did not want Fox to be the first to call the election and declare Biden president-elect.”

The authors called the statement “stunning,” since they claim 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 write in the obviously biased book.

Fox News made an election night call of historic magnitude and was first to do so. We stood by the call in the days that followed, it was proven correct, and other news organizations eventually joined us,” a network spokesperson told Mediaite.

A statement from Baier via a Fox News spokesperson soon followed:

“The full context of the e-mail is not reported in this book. I never said the Trump campaign ‘was really pissed’ – that was from an external email that I referenced within my note. This was an email sent AFTER election night. In the immediate days following the election, the vote margins in Arizona narrowed significantly and I communicated these changes to our team along with what people on the ground were saying and predicting district by district. I wanted to analyze at what point (what vote margin) would we have to consider pulling the call for Biden. I also noted that I fully supported our decision desk’s call and would defend it on air.”

 

The authors assert that two members of the Decision Desk were fired afterward. One of them was retired and the other, Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt, was a victim of restructuring. The book says that Fox News has cited employee confidentiality on the two departures but has not been specific on what happened.

Business Insider reported that “the announcements were delayed by two months because the ‘executives did not want the embarrassment of publicly owning their decision to push out journalists for making the right call.'”

“As we conclude the 2020 election cycle, Fox News Digital has realigned its business and reporting structure to meet the demands of this new era. We are confident these changes will ensure the platform continues to deliver breakthrough reporting and insightful analysis surrounding major issues, both stateside and abroad,” the network said in January 2021.

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