Nearly two years later, it seems many in America have yet to move on from the 2020 presidential election. For those with election integrity concerns, they might say with good cause, but when looking back on Nov. 3, 2020, it’s clear that for former President Donald Trump, it all began to unravel when Fox News quickly called Arizona for Joe Biden.
Fox News anchor Bret Baier announced that the network’s Decision Desk had called the state for Biden and a new book from The New York Times’s Peter Baker and The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser claims that Baier then pushed the network to retract its call, according to Mediaite, which obtained a copy of the book. The claim comes across as just more Fox News bashing, a favorite pastime of liberal journalists, and Baier released a statement rejecting the assertion.
“This situation is getting uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable. I keep having to defend this on air,” Baier wrote in an email to Fox News president Jay Wallace, according to the book, “The Divider.”
Suggesting “pride” was driving the Decision Desk to stand by the call, Baier added: “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.”
According to Baker and Glasser, the Fox News anchor not only wanted to retract the call but to give Arizona to Trump. A move the reporters called “stunning.”
“Arizona never was in Trump’s column. While the margin of his defeat in the state had narrowed since election night, he still trailed by more than ten thousand votes,” they wrote. “Yet 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.”
Baier responded in a statement issued by a spokesperson, offering some sorely missing context.
“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,” Baier said. “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.”
Glasser released a statement of her own, saying they “stand by the reporting in our book, and would note that his statement does not deny the accuracy of the email we reported.”
“In addition, it’s especially notable that Baier wrote in the email that it would be better for Fox News ‘to put it [Arizona] back in [Trump’s] column.’ In fact, Arizona was never in Trump’s column,” she added.
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