Done properly, calling election outcomes is an intricate science that allows results to be accurately forecast long before every last vote is counted. In the two centuries since votes were tabulated by hand and results communicated via horse-drawn carriage, Americans have become an impatient people accustomed to instant gratification.
Accordingly, news organizations like Fox News have invested heavily in the technology and experts necessary to call elections before the entirety of the vote is tabulated.
Last night, Fox was among the first to call Arizona and Virginia for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Conservatives are big mad about it. In the case of Virginia, they thought that the initial count showing President Donald Trump in the lead meant that the race couldn’t possibly be called—even though Virginia has gone blue for years, and other organizations like the Associated Press and the New York Times also called the race for Biden early on.
Facts don’t matter when you’re angry on the internet, of course.
Right-wing pundit Sebastian Gorka Instagrammed a screenshot from Fox News showing the initial tally in Virginia where Trump had a significant edge.
“Still waiting for someone to explain Chris Stirewalt’s excuse for this insanity,” Gorka raged. Stirewalt is a political editor at Fox.
Gorka’s audience chimed in in the comments. “Fox is shooting their own self with these calls,” “Fire Fox News,” and “I am so disappointed in Fox. They will probably lose viewers,” were among the comments.
Gorka wasn’t the only one raging against the day. The Trump campaign itself was reportedly livid when Fox News called Arizona for Biden.
Jason Miller, a senior advisor to the campaign, whined that other media outlets shouldn’t follow suit. Miller touted their effort to get out the vote, adding without evidence, “Fox News is trying to invalidate their votes!”
Repeat plagiarist Benny Johnson went even further, inexplicably calling Fox doing their job “election interference,” urging the network to fire Stirewalt, and for Trump to sue the network, otherwise known as a right-wing cancel culture trifecta.
The criticisms of the Arizona call prompted Arnon Mishkin, who directs Fox’s Decision Desk HQ, to go on air to defend it.
“I’m sorry, the president is not going to be able to take over and win enough votes to eliminate that seven-point lead,” Mishkin reportedly said.
Fox’s calls in both races proved correct. The AP has since called Arizona for Biden.
But even a call for something as straightforward as California going to Biden caused anger.
Conservatives were similarly mad at Ben Shapiro and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for correcting Trump’s dangerous and inaccurate claims that counting votes amounts to election interference and that Democrats were trying to “steal” the election.
As of Wednesday morning, Biden had a nine-point lead in Virginia, according to the Times. In Arizona, Biden maintained a three-point lead with more than 98% of the vote counted.