When Fox News decided to set up a nonpartisan, non-ideological “decision desk” for election night, little did it know it was setting itself up for criticism from its fan base, including President Donald Trump and his campaign team.

Just after 11 p.m. of what now feels like the longest night in the history of election nights, the network opted to predict that Joe Biden would win in Arizona, causing Fox News’ chief White House correspondent John Roberts to remark, “The Trump campaign is — how shall I put this — livid about the fact that Arizona was called.” When anchor Bret Baier asked Fox decision desk chief Arnon Mishkin if he was certain, Mishkin replied that the president’s camp was being unrealistic and, “I’m sorry, the president is not going to be able to take over and win enough votes to eliminate that seven-point lead” (via NPR).

The way the Trump campaign felt about that call (which later proved right) was encapsulated in a tweet from CNN’s Jim Acosta.”Trump advisers say campaign is furious with Fox for its Arizona call for Biden, an indication of how much was riding on the state. ‘Words cannot describe the anger,’ the adviser said.”

The Trump campaign took the projection badly

Fox News’ announcement might have been a projection, but it was enough to give the Biden campaign a boost, and to set off alarm bells at the Trump campaign. Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, took to Twitter: “1/ @FoxNews is a complete outlier in calling Arizona, and other media outlets should not follow suit. There are still 1M+ Election Day votes out there waiting to be counted – we pushed our people to vote on Election Day, but now Fox News is trying to invalidate their votes!” He then posted: “We only need 61% of the outstanding, uncounted Election Day votes in Arizona to win. These votes are coming from ‘our counties,’ and the 61% figure is very doable based on what our other Election Day votes are looking like. @FoxNews should retract their call immediately.”   

One Fox viewer complained: “I never thought I would switch the channel on election night, but @FoxNews has awful coverage!! @OANN is the way to go tonight. Sorry Tucker @TuckerCarlson.” Another called out Fox, tweeting: “@OANN is disputing! @FoxNews is just trying to sell books.”

As it turns out, Fox was right, but that might not be good enough for its irate fans.

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