Why Hasn’t Fox News Retracted Its Wrong Call on the House?

Despite what Fox News might think, this election—as it drags ever closer to unreality—is not decided by Fox News. 

On Election Night, Fox News Channel’s decision desk “called the House,” saying Democrats would gain five seats. This happened while Californians were still voting. Why does that matter? Because there are four districts in California that Democrats won from Republicans in 2018 and which Republicans were trying to retake. They are likely to win at least three of them. 

In all, a source close to House Republican leadership says the GOP is likely to go into the next Congress with between 210 and 214 seats. That means they gained 11-14 seats and substantially trimmed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s majority. 

Fox News could not have been more wrong, but they still have not retracted their very wrong, very badly timed call. 

I’m not sure what they think they are doing, nor who think they are, nor whether they know their game is up and they’re enjoying one last spasm of untruth, but Fox News is not the Electoral College, nor is it the Supreme Court. 

According to Fox News, Joe Biden has already won the presidency. Also according to Fox News at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night, Democrats were all but certain to gain five seats in the House of Representatives. 

Bizarrely, the channel didn’t show its work—they presented the projection, as the saying goes, “without evidence.” 

As it stands, Democrats have won 213 seats. Republicans have won 194 seats, a net gain of five. With 28 races to go, Republicans have flipped at least eight seats from blue to red. 

With outstanding races in New York, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Utah, Arizona, and elsewhere, Republicans are optimistic their numbers will hit at least 208 seats. 

Fox News should perhaps visit reality. 

Have they slept since Tuesday night? Is Fox News not privy to the failed-state chaos embarrassing America in the eyes of the world? 

Perhaps they are. And perhaps they know what they are doing. 

If Fox News had any scruples left, it would formally rescind its call, which amounted to little more than voter suppression. 

Democrats would gain at least five seats, said Fox, while Americans were still voting

As it stands, Democrats have lost 10 seats and House Democrats spent three hours on a Zoom call Thursday decrying this ruthless truth. 

During that “emotional conference call” the New York Times reported, “Democrats wept, cursed and traded blame on Thursday during an extraordinary party confab to dissect the disappointing results of this week’s elections, agreeing on little except that they needed a ‘deep dive’ into how they had ended up with painful losses that weakened their House majority instead of the big gains they had boldly predicted.”

In their first conversation since the Blue Mirage, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) defended the Democrats’ poor showing while fellow Democrats mourned the loss of members with numerous races still undecided. 

It is frankly remarkable that Fox News chooses, in this time of true chaos, to further mangle the commodity in vanishing supply—truth

Anyone with any political sense can see this election will not be settled for weeks, perhaps not even by December 14, when the Electoral College is supposed to meet. The razor-thin margins and reports of skullduggery across a growing list of states tell us that. 

As of Friday morning, most of the major networks have not made a presidential race projection in Arizona because the counting there has not finished. 

Indeed, Fox News called Arizona for Biden on election night while voters there were still lining up outside voting booths. 

As it stands, the Trump campaign believes Arizona will end up in its column—with seven electoral votes when the counting is completed. According to Fox News, however, Biden has already won in Arizona. 

The effect is remarkable. Having heard Biden had already won Arizona, those planning to vote for Trump perhaps called it a night. Which is perhaps what Fox News had in mind all along. What else would it be? 

After all, Fox News didn’t call Florida or any other state in which the president led until it was mathematically impossible not to do so. 

If the fabulists at Fox News had applied their own wisdom to states in which Trump led by healthier margins than Biden had led Arizona, then the network would have announced President Trump the clear winner on election night. 

After all, bookmakers practically did. Prior to Fox News’ erroneous calling of Arizona, bookmakers gave President Trump an 83 percent chance of reelection, considering his seemingly unassailable leads in the battleground states. 

Following that call, President Trump slipped to 60 percent. Then to 50. You know the rest. 

Fox News knew Arizona was pivotal to Trump’s reelection, and that notion for a short time was a psychological certainty until their decision desk called Arizona for Biden.

That decision desk, staffed by statisticians and political wonks, still defends its corrosive projection even though Biden’s lead in the state has shrunk dramatically as counting has gone on.

As it stands, Joe Biden might lose Arizona, given the margins from outstanding counties are favored heavily to Trump. 

What Fox News could have done is retract its call. Like it should retract its House projection. Neither is steeped in reality. Indeed, such calls have disfigured reality. 

Fox News and its failed-state churnalism have also tainted the Associated Press. According to these projections, Joe Biden is just six electoral college voters from victory.

Fox News is not the Electoral College, nor the Supreme Court where this all very likely could end up. 

If you want a true reflection of the race, check out RealClearPolitics. If you want to live in a banana republic, check out Fox News—but be quick and savor it—after this debacle, there won’t be a Fox News for long. 

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About Christopher Gage

Christopher Gage is a British political journalist and a founding member of the Gentlemen of the Swig. Subscribe to his Substack, "Oxford Sour."

Photo: Screen grab/Fox News Channel