Ex-Fox News political editor breaks down the 'red mirage' — and explains how Trump tried 'to exploit this anomaly'

Ex-Fox News political editor breaks down the 'red mirage' — and explains how Trump tried 'to exploit this anomaly'
Image via Screengrab.

On Monday morning, June 13, former Fox News Political Editor Chris Stirewalt testified during a series of public hearings being held by the U.S. House of Representatives’ select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Stirewalt was working Fox News’ decision desk on Election Night 2020, and during his testimony, he recalled that then-President Donald Trump failed to understand some basic facts about the counting of election results.

Trump and his allies were furious when Stirewalt, on Election Night 2020, called Arizona for now-President Joe Biden. Fox News, in fact, called Arizona for Biden before other media outlets, although Stirewalt’s reporting was totally accurate: Biden won Arizona — a fact that was upheld and confirmed by subsequent vote recounts.

Stirewalt, a veteran of television news, did exactly what reporters are encouraged to do: He scooped the competition with his reporting on Arizona — and Fox News later “thanked” Stirewalt by firing him. MAGA World was furious with Fox News because of Stirewalt’s reporting, and the firing showed that pleasing Trump was more important to Fox News than having high-quality, accurate reporting.

During his testimony before the January 6 select committee, Stirewalt explained that Trump didn’t understand the concept known as the “red mirage” — which is when the vote count, at a certain point, is deceptively favorable to a Republican candidate because it is coming from a GOP-leaning area and the votes from the more Democratic places haven’t been counted yet.

Stirewalt testified, “We had gone to pains — and I’m proud of the pains we went — to make sure that we were informing viewers that this was going to happen. Because the Trump campaign and the president had made it clear they were going (to) try to exploit this anomaly.”

Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren asked Stirewalt, “So, this red mirage, that’s really what you expected to happen on Election Night?” And Stirewalt responded, “It happens every time.”

Take Pennsylvania, for example. Trump clearly failed to understand how the “red mirage” worked in that state, where things were looking hopeful for him when the votes were being counted in GOP-friendly parts of Central Pennsylvania. But the more the votes were counted in Philadelphia — which is overwhelmingly Democratic and hasn’t had a Republican mayor since the early 1950s — the better things looked for Biden, who ultimately won the state.

During his testimony, Stirewalt recalled how he defended his election reporting at Fox News even when Trumpsters were angrily railing against it.

Mediaite reporter Aidan McLaughlin explains, “The network faced the wrath of Trump over the Arizona call, and millions of his supporters ditched Fox for Trumpier alternatives like OANN and Newsmax that more forcefully denied Biden’s win. Fox’s efforts to regain that audience — through moves like firing Stirewalt and adding additional hours of pro-Trump opinion to their lineup — ended up working. The network is back in first place in the ratings after falling behind CNN and MSNBC for the first time in decades.”

You can watch the video below:

Here are some responses to Stirewalt’s testimony that have been posted on Twitter:


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