Fox News anchor Bret Baier wanted Arizona ‘back’ in Trump column, book says | Books
Fox News anchor Bret Baier wanted the network to withdraw his famous Arizona call for Joe Biden on election night in 2020, citing pressure from Donald Trump’s campaign and saying the swing state should be ” put back in his column,” according to a new book.
News of Baier’s email is contained in The Divider: Trump in the White House 2017-2021, published in the United States on Tuesday.
The authors, Peter Baker of The New York Times and Susan Glasser of The New Yorker, call Baier’s claim “staggering” because Arizona “has never been in Trump’s column.” While his margin of defeat in the state had narrowed since election night, he still trailed by more than 10,000 votes.
Trump won Arizona in 2016. His appeal to Biden four years later didn’t give the Democrat the White House, but it signaled that Trump was in deep trouble. Stories of his fury at the surprisingly early appeal, which other networks failed to follow, are legion.
According to author Michael Wolff, Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, personally endorsed the call and said of Trump, “Fuck it.
Fox News denied this, but Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, wrote in his own book that on election night Murdoch told him Arizona was “not even close.”
The election was called for Biden on Nov. 7, four days later, when it was agreed he had won Pennsylvania.
But Baker and Glasser report that “turmoil” reigned at Fox News over Arizona, amid fears that right-wing rivals including Newsmax, firmly in Trump’s van, could sweep viewers away.
“Fox executives were freaking out,” the authors write, adding that Suzanne Scott, the chief executive, wanted Fox News to stop calling other states until they were certified by election officials — a process that takes weeks.
Baker and Glasser say Bill Sammon, the Washington editor, rejected the plan, saying, “Our enemies – and there are many – will describe this as follows: For the first time in its history, Fox News is refusing to screen the next president, who happens to be the Democrat who defeated Donald Trump.
Baker and Glasser report that although Baier had “long insisted that he was different from Trump’s opinion leaders” to Fox News, he felt pressure from the White House to quash the Arizona appeal. .
In an email on Thursday, Nov. 5, they report, the presenter said “the Trump campaign is really pissed off” and added, “This situation is getting uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable. I must continue to defend this on the air.
Baier allegedly “accused the [Fox News] Decision Desk to ‘hold on for pride’ and added: ‘It hurts us. The sooner we take it out – even if it gives us a big egg – and put it back in its spine, the better off in my opinion.’ »
They also say the decision desk was not allowed to call Nevada for Biden even after other networks did, because that would have made Biden the predicted winner of Fox News, given the call. from Arizona.
Trump continues to lie about mass voter fraud in Arizona, even after an “audit” by Republicans in the state found no fraud – and instead slightly increased Biden’s margin of victory.
In the aftermath of the Arizona call, Baker and Glasser write, Bill Sammon and Chris Stirewalt, senior members of Fox News’ political team, were “merely fired.”
Fox News insists Sammon retired while Stirewalt – who wrote his own book – was fired due to ‘restructuring’.
Baker and Glasser write, “Whatever they called it, Fox had decided that deference to Trump was more important than telling the story well.”
Citing another email, they say Jay Wallace, the president and editor of Fox News, told Sammon, “I respect you tremendously, but this has turned into a war.”