They let their employees take all the heat but Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch personally gave the go-ahead for Fox News’ early call that Joe Biden had won the state of Arizona, with Rupert saying, “Fuck him,” according to Michael Wolff.
You may recall that Fox and AP called Arizona for Biden on Election Night, eight days before ABC, CBS and NBC. Then-Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt said he was subjected to “murderous rage” from MAGA world and was subsequently fired. The managing editor of Fox’s Washington Bureau resigned the day before.
But in a Daily Beast preview of Wolff’s upcoming book, it was reportedly the Murdochs who gave the final go-ahead:
—According to Wolff, who as usual does not cite his sources, it was Fox News CEO Lachlan Murdoch, with his father Rupert’s backing, who made the decision to call Arizona for Biden on election night, pulling the rug out from under Trump. According to Wolff, Fox News’ independent election desk operation “was merely cover…to bypass the news desk and be directly answerable to the Murdochs. Certainly, there was every reason, if you wanted a reason to delay the Arizona call, to yet forestall it and still have no fear of being preempted by anyone else. Lachlan got his father on the phone to ask if he wanted to make the early call. His father, with signature grunt, assented, adding: ‘Fuck him.’”
As The New York Times put it, the Trump camp “erupted” at Fox's call and Jared Kushner contacted Rupert Murdoch in an effort to get the network to retract it. “Instead of retracting it, the decision desk at Fox News doubled down on its call, putting Arnon Mishkin, the head of the desk, on air to defend the call,” The Times reported. Mishkin is not a Fox employee.
For the record, Fox says Wolff’s account is “completely false.” The Daily Beast received a statement from the network:
"This account is completely false. Arnon Mishkin who leads the FOX News Decision Desk made the Arizona call on election night and FOX News Media President Jay Wallace was then called in the control room. Any other version of the story is wildly inaccurate."
I noticed Fox did not specifically deny any involvement by the Murdochs.