- An excerpt from journalist Michael Wolff’s new book claims Rupert Murdoch made the decision to call Arizona for Biden.
- Fox News disputes the account and says that Arnon Mishkin, who leads the network’s decision desk, made the call.
- Former President Donald Trump continues to claim that Arizona was called for Biden in error.
Media magnate Rupert Murdoch made the final decision for Fox News to call Arizona for Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election, a move that infuriated Donald Trump, according to a report in Business Insider.
Fox News denies the allegations in journalist Michael Wolff’s book.
“This never happened and is completely untrue,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement.
By the news group’s account, Arnon Mishkin, who runs Fox’s decision desk, made the call himself.
“(The book’s) account is completely false,” the spokesperson said. “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.”
Wolff writes in his new book “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency,” that Lachlan Murdoch, the CEO of Fox Corporation and Rupert’s son, was notified that the network’s election desk was prepared to call Arizona for Democratic candidate Biden shortly after 11 p.m. on election night – before any other network had made the call.
According to an early copy of the book obtained by Insider, when Lachlan called his father on whether to make the early call, “his father, with signature grunt, assented,” and added an epithet.
Wolff writes that after the conversation between the Murdochs, Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer notified Jason Miller, then-lead social media strategist for President Trump, to let him know of the network’s decision to call Arizona for Biden.
During the call with Hemmer, Wolff wrote, Miller rose from his seat and uttered an epithet while surveilling a group of Trump campaign staffers unaware of the call Fox News was about to make.
“That’s what they’re doing. That’s what they’re going with,” Hemmer allegedly responded to Miller.
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Wolff does not cite any sources for conversation between the Murdochs, but he has previously defended reporting on the book, saying that events involving Trump’s staff were confirmed by several sources.
The controversial decision to call Arizona for Biden enraged Trump and his campaign officials, some of whom called for Rupert Murdoch to reverse the network’s call.
Trump personally called Murdoch, screamed at him and demanded a retraction, according to a report in Vanity Fair. Murdoch refused to retract the decision.
Fox News put Mishkin, the head of its decision desk, on air to defend the call.
Trump continues to claim that Arizona was called for Biden in error, despite a lack of evidence to back up his assertions. The former president will visit Phoenix on July 24 for a “Rally to Protect Our Elections” in his first trip back to the state he lost by about 11,000 votes since the election.
The rally comes as a Republican-led “forensic audit” of Maricopa County’s 2.1 million votes by a Florida-based company nears its end. The review began in April.
But some experts say the results are unlikely to be accurate. Benny White, a Republican elections consultant who lives in Pima County and has helped audit elections in Arizona and other states for more than a decade, said there is a “zero percent chance” that the results will be accurate.
“They chose the least credible way to count this number of ballots and the votes on the ballots,” White said.
Rod Thomson, a spokesman for the Florida company conducting the audit, denied that their process is ripe for error.
Trump and his allies have gone to great lengths to try to obtain the election results they want out of Arizona. Records obtained by the Arizona Republic show the former president made a number of attempts to call the chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in the weeks after the election, and the state’s GOP chair, Kelli Ward, tried to get the supervisors “to stop the counting” and delay certifying the results.
The trip highlights Arizona’s status as a swing state in the next elections.
“Arizona is at the epicenter of the 2022 midterms and of course, the next presidential election in 2024,” Charlie Kirk, chairman of the conservative, Phoenix-based group Turning Point Action, said in a statement to The Arizona Republic Friday.
“It’s critical that our support is stronger than ever so the average American’s trust in our systems and institutions is restored. We have to start earlier and work harder than ever before to save Arizona and the republic. We are honored that President Trump is committed to that fight and we know Arizonans are thrilled that he’s decided to pay their home state a special visit.”
During Trump’s first bid for the White House, Fox News championed his campaign. However, during Trump’s re-election bid, Murdoch complained Trump would lose due to his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Contributing: Ella Lee
Source: USA Today – Breaking News