Nearly 90 minutes before polls closed in California, Fox News chose to make the irresponsible announcement that Republicans had already lost the U.S. House of Representatives. Did that early call cost the Republicans Orange County, California?
Orange County has been a Republican stronghold (and a famous one) for decades, and while there is no question the county had been trending Democrat, on Election Night, Republicans lost all seven congressional seats. But if you look at the vote counts, there were a number of squeakers.
In the 28th District, Democrat Linda Sanchez beat Republican Ryan Downing by less than 300 votes.
Out of over 140,000 votes cast in the 39th District, the Democrat won by only a little over 4,000 votes with 51.4 percent. This race was so close, it was not called until November 17.
In the 45th District, the margin was 51.6 to 48.4 percent with a margin of under 9000 votes out of some 280,000.
With margins such as these, it is not unreasonable to ask if Fox News suppressed the Republican vote with its indefensible Election Night call.
While Democrat voters prefer early voting, it is well known that Republican voters tend to vote on Election Day — which means those after-work hours are crucially important when it comes to turnout.
But for a crucial 87 minutes, between 6:33 p.m. local time, when Fox announced the election for the U.S. House of representatives was over, and 8:00 p.m., when the polls closed, Orange County was told that voting in an important national race that might have been a motivating factor to get in or remain in line, was futile.
Media outlets are supposed to wait until all the polls have closed before calling a race, supposed to wait until all the votes have been cast. For a host of reasons no one should have to explain, this is not only considered good manners, it is an easy way for the media to avoid meddling in elections by discouraging voter participation.
What’s more, sometimes the media get these early calls wrong. During the 2000 presidential election, a number of news outlets not only called Florida an hour before the conservative-leaning Panhandle’s polls closed, they called it wrong for Al Gore.
While we will never know if Fox’s early call on November 6 cost the GOP Orange County, we do know it was anti-democratic, wildly irresponsible, and another in a ever-growing list of lapses of judgment the cable news network has made of late.
In just last few months, Fox News has…
- Backed CNN’s lawsuit against President Trump to reinstate a press pass for heckler Jim Acosta.
- Buckled to emotional blackmail from CNN and others and stopped airing Trump’s perfectly acceptable ad about the dangers of illegal immigration.
- Offered a platform to Jorge Ramos, a left-wing propagandist and open borders extremist.
- Mocked an actor for working a real job.
- Spread the fake news that Senate Judiciary Committee testimony from Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford was “exceptionally credible” — when the truth is that Ford’s testimony and documentation were riddled with contradictions and falsehoods.
- Attacked Breitbart News after we uncovered smoking gun audio about Google’s election meddling.
Fox News appears to be moving to the left, towards becoming a more establishment news outlet, which would be a massive mistake.
If news consumers want to be lied to about illegal immigration, want to see working people mocked, want to be misled about Christine Blasey Ford, want to see an obnoxious leftist like Acosta defended in court, what to see the truth about immigration declared racist, or want to see Republican voter suppression in action, they have a whole lot of other options.
Fox News is surrendering, not only its Middle America identity, but what makes it unique in an already over-crowded marketplace.