The race to be first has dominated the 24 hour news cycle often resulting in questionable reporting like the frustrating call of Arizona made by Fox News in the 2020 presidential election. Anchor Martha MacCallum seemed to harken back to that travesty Tuesday night as she sought a scapegoat for the “distrust in the system.”
(Video: Fox News)
As midterm election results trickle in, widespread predictions of a big red wave that didn’t manifest are not going to help voter confidence still shaken from the last go ’round. Anyone who has watched live election coverage in recent years has witnessed the rollercoaster of lead changes as various precincts report in, sometimes suggesting a dominant lead by one candidate while the other is projected to win, and MacCallum briefly touched on that.
Seated between Fox News anchor Bret Baier and host Laura Ingraham as expectations were measured over races being watched, she began her comments.
“We’ve been going through all of these voting rules for all of these states. There’s so many states where they will not–where they don’t say, ‘We’re gonna count the mail-in first, then we’re gonna count the day of, then we’re gonna go to our provisional ballots. This is the order that we do it in,'” she said.
“So when you start getting this vote in,” MacCallum continued, as she noted the tides shifting as results manifested, “it just–that’s the kind of thing that people don’t–it fosters distrust in the system.”
The anchor’s sentiment failed to acknowledge that the manner in which corporate media chooses to cover the developing results and to project winners from that information is entirely up to them as they could just as easily wait until it is clear.
As it happened in 2020, Fox News had called the state of Arizona for then-candidate Joe Biden well before any other outlet where the race seemed far too close. As previously reported, a recent book by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker and CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser titled, “The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021,” alleged that Baier had pressured Fox to withdraw that call.
Baier reportedly wrote an email to Fox News president Jay Wallace that read, “This situation is getting uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable. I keep having to defend this on air,” and, “It’s hurting us. 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.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 20, 2022
Baier responded to the report via spokesperson in a statement that read in part, “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 full supported our decision desk’s call and would defend it on air.”
The backlash of the Arizona call seemingly led to a viewer exodus from the network with chants of “Fox News sucks” cropping up during on-scene reporting.
At the time of this posting, control of Congress had yet to be projected.
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