‘We Became a Focus of All Of This Rage’: Chris Stirewalt Describes Viewer Backlash To Fox News Arizona Call


Chris Stirewalt, the former Fox News political director who was fired recently, appeared on Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show to discuss the backlash he and his colleagues on the Fox News Decision Desk faced from supporters of former President Donald Trump. After the network called Arizona for President Joe Biden, Trump and his advocates blasted Stirewalt, including at least one GOP politician calling for him to be fired.

After a months-long exile from air, Stirewalt was laid off last week.

Hayes introduced Stirewalt, describing how he had become “a target of murderous rage from consumers who were furious of not having their views confirmed” and asked him to describe their process on Election Night and the aftermath.

Stirewalt began by noting that he was not solely responsible for the decision to call Arizona for Biden, praising the “awesome team of fabulous nerds” who analyzed the incoming data from the precincts around the country that night.

“It was long after any calls were made that I had any idea that this was a huge deal or that people were freaking out or all that stuff,” said Stirewalt, describing the several days’ delay for the last few states to finalize their counts. “I would not understand the magnitude of the anger on the right about this for sometime.”

Both Fox and the AP called Arizona for Biden early on, and were alone in that determination for a few days, Stirewalt said, but just those two calls were enough to be “effective in defeating Trump’s attempt to disrupt the election to steal an election because, yes, it was the narrative was broken.”

“We were kind of out there by ourselves and through that process we became a focus of all of this rage, all of this anger,” he continued.

The situation, Stirewalt explained, “woke me up to unhappy facts about the way that the industry works…a lot of people have grown accustomed to being flattered by their news outlets…it was not just a matter that they were unhappy or disagreed with it, it was a matter of real anger and spoke to me about the depth of the problem.”

“Twenty-four hours is not the correct increment to consume news,” added Stirewalt, describing the “advertiser-based system” where the cable news networks “have the power now to chase viewers and clicks where they are.”

But the deeper problem is that your network,” Hayes replied, “the president was feeding people substantive lies, incredibly important, material lies about the world…That’s a substantive problem with what was being pumped out, not a formal question of the 24-hour news cycle.”

Stirewalt retorted that he had not participated in “pumping out mistruths,” and defended his work. “Every day I worked at Fox News I did and said what I wanted to do and say.”

“There are people on the network you worked for that are lying to people,” said Hayes. “And it’s really bad for the country. I don’t know any other way to say it but that’s just where we are.”

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

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