Media giant Fox News is facing backlash from Republicans for prematurely calling the results of the Iowa caucuses in favor of President Donald Trump. This has stirred up memories of the controversial 2020 election, where the network also faced criticism for their projections. The network’s decision desk, known for its nonpartisan approach, called the race for Trump after the doors closed at the caucus sites, causing Trump’s allies to accuse them of interference in the election process.
“It is absolutely outrageous that the media would participate in election interference by calling the race before tens of thousands of Iowans even had a chance to vote. The media is in the tank for Trump and this is the most egregious example yet,” said DeSantis spokesman Andrew Romeo on Monday night.
Bret Baier, one of the network’s anchors, addressed the controversy and defended their decision, saying they relied on data from the Associated Press and their voter analysis to make the call. Baier also pointed out that according to the rules, the official time to characterize the race is when the doors close for the caucuses. This did little to appease Republicans like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
“You know, it’s interesting for the call, Brit. Um, obviously it happens very early, number of networks, including Fox making that call,” Baier began, addressing veteran political analyst Brit Hume.
“We have AP, Associated Press, we have the Fox News voter analysis, along with the Associated Press. This rolling poll of caucus-goers, as well as the raw total of votes coming in, once that was overwhelming on the analysis of that. Uh, we could make the call in the caucuses when the doors closed for the caucuses. That is when the official time is to be able to characterize the race. And so that’s how that develops that early. Again, there’s a lot of controversy around it because people were inside and obviously had their phones. Um, but that’s how the rules go for Iowa,” Baier concluded.
BREAKING: The Fox News Decision Desk has called the Iowa caucuses for Trump pic.twitter.com/eCBdwZ7Q9w
— Jesse Watters (@JesseBWatters) January 16, 2024
The network’s political analyst, Brit Hume, added to the discussion, stating that in general elections, the worry is that calling a race too soon may discourage people from voting. However, in caucus states like Iowa, where doors are closed and no one can enter once voting has started, this fear is unfounded. Hume reminded viewers that in the past, candidates have won the nomination despite finishing in second place in Iowa, so this win does not necessarily guarantee Trump’s victory in the future.
The controversy began when Fox News projected that Democrat Joe Biden would win Arizona, while every other major news outlet has held off on making a call. Trump loyalists and even some Fox News personalities expressed their skepticism about the decision. Fox News anchor Martha McCallum and Bret Baier acknowledged that there were disagreements within the Republican party about the Arizona call, and former host and Trump ally Tucker Carlson appeared skeptical as well.
There were suggestions that media outlets were purposely calling the race in hopes of suppressing voter turnout. Fox News was the first major network to call the state for Biden. These events have sparked a debate about Fox News’ credibility and non-partisan approach to election coverage. While the network’s decision desk is highly respected, the projections have raised questions about their methodology and potential bias.
The early call for Trump in Iowa has put Fox News in the spotlight once again, as they face criticism and scrutiny from some Republicans. While the network has defended its decisions, the controversy surrounding the projections raises concerns about the media’s role in elections and the impact it may have on voter turnout.