According to text messages obtained by The Daily Beast, Fox News anchor Bret Baier and then-Fox presenter Tucker Carlson expressed extreme concern regarding their network’s election coverage two days after the election.
The conversation occurred on November 5, 2020, when the presidential election had not yet been decided. Fox News and the Associated Press were the first to call Arizona for Democratic nominee Joe Biden on election night, which angered many viewers of the network. Eventually, Biden won the state, but only by a slim margin of 0.3%; the AP provisionally reclassified Arizona as “too close to call.”
“I continue to think the company isn’t taking the [sic] seriously enough,” Carlson said in a text to Baier. “We need to do something to reassure our core audience. They’re our whole business model.”
Carlson expressed concern about the possibility of Fox News’ primary audience leaving due to their belief in then-president Donald Trump’s voter fraud claims. Carlson also asked Baier if he could offer any assistance in the situation.
“Is there some way I could help?” he asked. “Obviously I’d never do anything without full approval from the top.” He also asked if the network had any “plan” to call more states where the elections were not yet decided.
“We could lose our audience,” he said.
“We have been pushing for answers,” Baier responded. “I have pressed them to slow. And I think they will slow walk Nevada. The votes don’t come in until tomorrow.”
“Please let me know if they don’t seem to be obeying,” Carlson said in reply. “We could really f**k up a lot of what we’ve built.”
“I totally agree,” said Baier, who also said he was “taking major incoming.”
During the conversation, Carlson also suggested interrogating Arnon Miskin, the director of the Decision Desk who made the decision to call Arizona early for Biden and received massive backlash for it.
“But perhaps you could guide us through it? Viewers trust you. Or perhaps he conducts an interview with Mishkin? I’m receptive. Nonetheless, I want to assist. Please inform me,” Carlson wrote.
“Arnon would be good. For YOU to grill him,” Baier wrote back. “But I have had him on a bunch. I am happy to do it. But may say I wouldn’t have made the call when we did. But we did.”
Mediaite noted that Carlson ultimately did not have the opportunity to have Mishkin on his program.
Even though viewers were angry at the time, Fox News maintained its Arizona prediction.
“FOX News stood by the Arizona call despite intense scrutiny. Given the extremely narrow 0.3% margin and a new projection mechanism that no other network had, it’s hardly surprising there would be postmortem discussions surrounding the call and how it was executed, no matter the candidates,” the network declared in a statement.
Baier and Carlson concurred that they must do “whatever” it takes to keep “our viewers happy.”
“I’ve got four more years here,” Carlson said. “I’m stuck with Fox. Got to do whatever I can to keep our numbers up and our viewers happy.”
“Yes,” Baier replied.
They also discussed being “destroyed” by the election results and Trump blaming them and their network.
“When Trump loses, he’s going to blame us,” Carlson said. “That’s going to be very bad.”
More on this story via Conservative Brief:
Last week, Fox News dumped Carlson in a move that continues to reverberate across the network and the cable news industry. Popular figure Kayleigh McEnany will host his old 8 PM ET time slot for the network next week as the company continues to rotate talent before settling on a permanent replacement. CONTINUE READING…