Fox News was the first major outlet to make the call, as other networks have remained cautious about projecting Biden's victory in the historically red state. Many members of the Trump campaign expressed criticism of Fox News' early call; however, it seems no one was as upset as the president.
According to Vanity Fair, POTUS was so infuriated by the projection that he phoned Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch to scream his demands for a retraction. A source told the publication that Murdoch ultimately refused, which didn't sit well with some of the network's pro-Trump hosts.
"We called it long before MSNBC!" an anonymous Fox News staffer told Vanity Fair. "We were so worried about being seen as pro-Trump that we bent over backwards."
Arnon Mishkin, the director of the Fox News' decision desk, appeared on the network's 2020 Election coverage to defend the bold call.
"Yes, there are outstanding votes in Arizona ... where we know from our Fox News voter analysis Biden has an advantage," he said. "We don’t know how exactly many mail-in votes there are, but what I think we've heard from the White House is that they are expecting that they need just to get 61 percent of the outstanding vote and there are 870,000 outstanding votes, and they'll be getting that. That's not true. The reality is that they're likely to get only about 44 percent of the outstanding votes that are there. We're right now sitting on a race that is Biden at 53 percent, Trump at 46 percent. I'm sorry, the president is not going to be able to take over and win enough votes to eliminate that seven-point lead that the former vice president has."
Trump has had a rocky relationship with Fox News over the past several years. Though the outlet has been credited for helping his political rise, its coverage of the Trump administration hasn't always been favorable. A source previously told Vanity Fair that the president had expressed frustration over some of Fox News' reporting, specifically its coverage of the explosive Atlantic story that alleged Trump had disparaged fallen US soldiers.
Vanity Fair reported that Trump had phoned Murdoch, who predicted a Biden 2020 victory, to scream about the network's polls that showed him trailing his Democratic opponent.
"They had a humongous blowup. Trump yelled that Fox’s coverage is unfair and the polling is fake," the source claimed. "Rupert defended the network’s standards and polling."