In a blatant effort to sabotage the election results, Donald Trump made false and dangerous claims that he is losing because of illegal votes. The remarks clearly didn’t sit well with Fox News anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum but they timidly framed them merely as unverified claims.
The New York Times has a good summary:
President Trump broke a two-day silence with reporters to deliver a brief statement filled with lies about the election process as workers in a handful of states continue to tabulate vote tallies in the presidential race.
The president painted the election results so far as part of a broad conspiracy to deprive him of winning a second term by Democrats, election officials in various cities and the media.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” Mr. Trump said shortly after he took the podium in the White House briefing room, a false statement that cast aspersion on the rest of the election. He offered no evidence.
He then listed a series of conspiracy theories about why ballots arrived late in places. And at the same time that he insisted Democrats were figuring out how many mail-in ballots they need in order to counteract his performance in various states, the president listed off a series of Republican wins on Tuesday. He appeared not to see the cognitive dissonance in saying that other Republicans won while he lost as he outlined a plot about others harming him, and left the room without taking reporters’ questions.
Then there’s Fox News. Clearly, it was too much even for Baier and MacCallum to swallow. But just as clearly, Baier and MacCallum and/or their producers were too cowardly to call a spade a spade, or in this case a dangerous lie-fest.
Media Matters caught their responses:
MARTHA MACCALLUM (ANCHOR): The president coming out and basically saying that he believes the election has been stolen. He didn't take any questions, Bret. People yelling them on his way out the door.
BRET BAIER (ANCHOR): Yeah. He said Big Media, Big Money, Big Tech, and pollsters, suppression polls, essentially have affected this race, he said, from the beginning. Also talked about several lawsuits that have already been launched and many more he says that are coming, challenging the handling of the ballots in various states, alleging that things are happening in these states. Those state registrars and secretaries of state are pushing back on that so far.
MACCALLUM: Yeah, he keeps talking about the fact that later on more votes kept coming in. We know the mail-in ballots were collected, were announced, after the day-of ballots, which was the order that we were told that that would happen in, but he says that we have so much evidence, so much proof that the election was stolen, so that is what will need to be produced if indeed it is there.
BAIER: Stealing an election, corruption, leveling a lot of charges, the president of the United States, who we haven't heard from really since the early morning hours after the election, and now this battle continues with his campaign fighting in numerous states.
Of slight consolation is that Baier and Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts emphasized a little later that they have seen no evidence of voter fraud.
But what’s really going on here is that Trump sees the election slipping away from him and he’s trying to steal it.
We expect lickspittles like Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs to be accomplices in any of Trump's wrongdoing. But the so-called news division at Fox should have stiff enough spines – not to mention ethics and patriotism – to call out an assault on our democracy when it unfolds before their eyes.
You can watch it below, from the November 5, 2020 The Story with Martha MacCallum, via Media Matters.
Correction: This post originally reported that MSNBC did not air Trump's remarks.