It was all about Arizona – until it was all about the congressional races – until it was all about Judge Jeanine Pirro. Inexplicable decisions and peculiar moves by the Fox News Network this week are causing an uproar among the conservative base that vaulted Fox to its lofty perch as the flagship of right-leaning news outlets. Now the network’s loyal viewers are venting their frustration by calling for boycotts, quietly tuning out, and feeling more than a little betrayed by the one news organization they thought could be trusted.
Justice with Judge Jeanine usually airs Saturday at 9 p.m. on the network that Rupert Murdoch built. It is not a news program; it is an opinion show – in the order of Hannity or Tucker Carlson Tonight. Pirro’s program never materialized Saturday, and instead, the network aired the acceptance speech of former Vice President Joe Biden. Without delay, an inaccurate report by Newsmax was picked up by others and circulated on the internet, claiming that Pirro’s show was suspended for content reasons because she planned to “expose the vote fraud that took place in the election.”
However, the Washington Examiner later ran a contradicting article, reporting: “Fox News rejected reporting that the network suspended Jeanine Pirro over a feud regarding coverage of President Trump.” The article goes on to quote a Fox spokeswoman as saying: “The network ran election coverage last night and Jeanine Pirro will be back next week along with regularly scheduled programming.”
Even though Fox claims not to have given Pirro the ax, those on the right are so riled up they seem ready to storm the gates of Fox News HQ with pitchforks and yell: “Traitors!” Such as it is, Fox’s viewers are directing their anger and frustration at the network. It is clear that the relationship between the so-called Deplorables and their network of choice has become tenuous; confidence is waning, and the Fox faithful are starting to tune out. The Fox and fans friendship undeniably suffered a great deal this week with two other election night decisions.
In a Word – Arizona
Everything was rolling right along until the witching hour of 11:00 p.m. on Election Night. It was precisely 11:20 p.m., in fact, when the Fox Decision Desk called Arizona for Joe Biden. The vote counting was in an embryonic stage in the Grand Canyon State, though, with tens of thousands of ballots still to be counted. That tells you a little about why the backlash has been so astonishing to so many. The network’s Decision Desk is led by Arnon Mishkin, who admitted on Fox that he was a registered Democrat but claimed his work at the network is “unbiased.” That did not sit well with conservatives whose skepticism of Mishkin is borne out with each passing day as Mr. Biden’s lead in Arizona continues to dwindle. As of noon, on Sunday, November 8, Biden held a lead of 18,610 votes over Donald Trump with 97% of the precincts reporting. One longtime conservative, who is a Strategic Marketing analyst by trade, told Liberty Nation:
“I knew Mishkin had to be a Democrat when I heard him on election night. He had that supercilious, know-it-all manner that simply reeked Democrat. He kept talking about his statistical models using jargon to sound important. Having built statistical models myself, anyone who stands by them so firmly is worrisome. Models are just a set of assumptions and math and often wrong in unprecedented times. But when pressed about the possibility of the Arizona result, he brought out the old Democratic trick of sighing as though it was a stupid question. “Ugh-speak,” I call it. Kamala Harris uses that technique quite a lot.”
Georgia resident Janet Sherrill is another conservative who sounded off to Liberty Nation: “I would like to say that Fox is a huge disappointment with the only media source that I trusted. There’s plenty of media for the Democrats, but there was only one for Republicans, and now there’s none.” Sherrill also said she has been boycotting Fox for the last three days.
LN’s Washington Political Columnist, Tim Donner, also chimed in about the perplexing speed with which Fox called Arizona for Biden. Still, he pointed out a more troubling call by the network on election night:
“For the sake of its reputation, Fox News had better hope that Biden’s shrinking lead in Arizona holds up. But the Fox call on the House – that the Democrats would hold their majority and pick up five seats – speaks volumes. Not only did Fox make that call while the polls were still open in California – where there were several hotly contested House races – but its prediction, like most of its pre-election polls, was completely wrong, with the GOP now figuring to pick up at least half a dozen seats.”
Careful observers will note that Fox News has been signaling a not-so-subtle change in its coverage of news events. Liberty Nation has written extensively on this subject here, here, here, and here. For sure, the recent election bungles have added more questions about the editorial leanings of Fox. As well, Fox’s reputation with its faithful viewership has been further damaged. Who knows, there may be a Trump TV in America’s future, and if so, there are at least 71 million people across the fruited plain ready and willing to tune in.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.