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Trump team ‘called Murdoch to complain about Fox News declaring Arizona for Biden’

Source says president personally phoned network owner to ‘scream’ about decision

Adam Forrest
Thursday 05 November 2020 18:57 GMT
Latest 2020 election results

Donald Trump’s team called Fox News mogul Rupert Murdoch to complain about the network’s decision to declare Joe Biden the winner in Arizona, according to reports.  

The president and his senior staff were said to be so enraged by the usually sympathetic TV station’s move that they attempted to get its owner to drop its formal projection for Mr Biden.  

CNN, The New York Times and Vanity Fair all cited sources saying the Trump campaign reached out to Mr Murdoch after Fox News became the first network to report that the Democrat had taken the crucial state late on Tuesday night.  

Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman said a source told him Mr Trump personally phoned Fox owner Rupert Murdoch “to scream about the [Arizona] call and demand a retraction. Murdoch refused, and the call stood”.

Both CNN and The New York Times reported that the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner was in contact with Mr Murdoch.

Since the Fox News decision, the Associated Press has also declared Arizona for the Democrat. Other news networks, including NBC and CNN, have yet to offer a formal projection for the battleground state – which Mr Trump took in 2016.

Mr Biden is currently ahead there by around 68,000 votes, with 88 per cent of votes tallied. He is relying on Arizona’s 11 electoral college votes to take him to the White House.

Republicans have expressed their fury at Fox News over the projection and its wider coverage of election counting. 

Senior Trump adviser Jason Miller tweeted: “WAY too soon to be calling Arizona … Can’t believe Fox was so anxious to pull the trigger here after taking so long to call Florida.”

Former Trump adviser Sam Nunberg said: “Fox News committed news malpractice and voter suppression last night. There’s got to be a change there or there will be major consequences.”

The channel’s decision desk director Arnon Mishkin explained the decision on air. “I’m sorry. The president is not going to be able to take over and win enough votes to eliminate that seven-point lead that the former vice president has … We’re not wrong in this particular case.”

Several hundred Trump supporters picketing a Maricopa County ballot-processing facility in Arizona on Wednesday evening could be heard chanting: “Fox News sucks!”

Several of his supporters were seen carrying AR-15 rifles and other firearms at the angry rally.

Mr Murdoch’s network won the US election night ratings war on Tuesday, with almost 14 million viewers tuning in to its coverage — well ahead of CNN, MSNBC, ABC and NBC.  

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