As expected, last nights midterm elections featured a number of surprises. No surprise, however, may have been bigger than Fox News calling the House for Democrats long before any other network.
At 9:33 EST, the network’s Bret Bair announced, “We are now ready to make one of the biggest calls of the night. The Fox News Decision Desk can now project the Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years.”
This decision perturbed many conservatives, perhaps none more than Steve Bannon. Bannon was hosting a Youtube election special with Alt-Right figures like Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec and Jim Hoff.
Donald Trump’s former campaign chief fumed, “Thank you Fox News. Thank you Lachlan Murdoch. We’ve only got three more hours of voting, brother. I know they may not do that in Australia, but here in the United States we still vote.”
Shortly after Fox News’ determination, strong results began to come in for Democrats. Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria upset their opponents in Virginia. Democrats also grabbed surprise house seats in Republican strongholds like Staten Island and Oklahoma City.
Steve Bannon wasn’t alone in worrying about Foxs’ decision. Some Democratic supporters wondered if it was a way to prevent Californians from voting.
Television creator David Simon tweeted, “Get to the polls West Coast voters. And stay in line. Fox won’t quit until the republic itself is in the grave.”
Bannon’s set mate, Posobiec took the call another way, tweeting, “This is Fox News Murdoch INC meddling for the Democrats. Let that sink in.”
For their part, Fox News says they meant no offense to anyone by calling the election early. Politics editor Chris Steirwalt said, “All I know is the Fox News Voter Analysis is humming like it’s just a Testarossa Ferrari.”
In the end Fox was correct in their analysis, beating MSNBC to the call by close to an hour and CNN by an hour and a half.
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com, and PoliticusUSA. An avid pet lover, he has been known to contribute to Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology, and spending time at the shore with his family.