Michael Wolff writes in his new book that Fox News owner and right-wing media tycoon Rupert Murdoch personally gave the green light to his network to call Arizona for then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, according to Insider.
In an excerpt of Wolff’s upcoming book obtained by the publication, Wolff claims that Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son and Fox Corporation CEO, phoned his father on election night to ask if Trump-friendly Fox News could announce that Arizona had flipped blue based on the network’s election data. No other outlet had called the state at the time.
The media mogul gave a short but blistering response, Wolff reportedly writes.
“[Lachlan’s] father, with signature grunt, assented, adding, ‘F— him,'” the book says.
Wolff also claimed that Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer called Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller to give him a heads-up about the network’s decision.
A Fox News spokesperson denied Wolff’s story about Hemmer, telling TPM it was “completely untrue” and pointing to a video showing the anchor reacting to his network’s Arizona call with seeming surprise on air on election night.
A Fox News Media spokesperson said Wolff’s account of how the network made the Arizona call was “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,” the spokesperson said. “Any other version of the story is wildly inaccurate.”
Fox News’ call that night was seen as a huge blow by the Trump campaign, and its advisers were reportedly furious with the network, which had been a reliable ally to the then-president. The New York Times also reported that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, was in touch with Murdoch that night.
This story has been updated with a statement from Fox News Media.