A former Fox News editor fired after the network correctly predicted Joe Biden’s 2020 election win in Arizona said Wednesday that he failed to understand “how deeply afraid” network bosses were of the cable channel’s own audience. (Watch below.)
Chris Stirewalt told NewsNation’s Chris Cuomo that he understood Republicans would be upset about Donald Trump’s defeat in the pivotal swing state, but “was not aware” of how that reaction would play out at Fox News.
“I did not understand how deeply afraid so many people where I worked were of their own audience,” said Stirewalt, who is now NewsNation’s political editor. “And that is really what you get to see as this stuff comes out, which is afraid of their own audience and afraid to level with them and tell them how things are, and deal with it.”
Evidence in Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6-billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News shows network executives and star personalities fretted that the Arizona call would cause conservative viewers to defect to other media. The court records also show that host Tucker Carlson privately bashed Trump while he and other network stars promoted 2020 election lies.
Despite the letdown of Trump’s defeat, Fox News wanted to keep its “sugar high” ratings going, Stirewalt said.
“So I watched Fox trade a short-term problem, which would be the decline in ratings after a presidential election, which is what happens, that’s just the business ... for this long-term problem that they’re still dealing with,” Stirewalt said.