The witness seemed to be in the moment and offered answers with enthusiasm.
Who was the winner of the U.S. presidential election in November 2020? This was the question California lawmaker Zoe Lofgren posed Monday at the hearing by the House Select Committee regarding the January 6th attacks against Congress.
The reply was "Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. of the great state Delaware".
How likely was it that Donald Trump would win a surprise election after November 7th?
The answer was "Play the Powerball"
Chris Stirewalt (Fox News's former political director) said that Biden was projected as the winner in Arizona by Fox News on Election Night. It was just right."
NPR's Stirewalt spoke with Stirewalt Monday afternoon, minutes after his testimony was over. He was a jovial raconteur and said that the Arizona call by Fox's decision desk aEUR” before any other U.S. TV network aEUR” alarmed executives afraid of alienating Trump voters, as well as angering his many friends within the network.
"We don’t award any electoral votes. We don't count ballots. Stirewalt stated that they are a bunch of geeks in a room and that's all. "We are just telling you what's coming." "We're not making any of this happen."
"And it showed me how much television is aEUR" the perceptions and news of events, as well as treating it as entertainment and a sport, had really hurt the ability of Americans to be good citizens of a republic. They misunderstood the TV show as the real thing.
Fox journalists were telling Fox viewers things they didn’t want to hear in some ways. Stirewalt stated that part of the problem was the fact that Fox's opinion hosts kept repeating the false claim that Trump would win the election.
Stirewalt claimed he was removed from Fox's airwaves shortly after his explanations about why Fox had projected Arizona's wins. Stirewalt, along with 15 other colleagues, was gone two months later when Biden assumed office.
Fox News declined to comment on this story through a senior spokesperson. In the past, Fox News has attributed his departure as a result of a typical restructuring following a major election. The network's Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon also left the organization at that time in what was called a retirement.
Stirewalt had a funny remark about it.
Stirewalt stated that Fox lost the thread but that the old idea at Fox was a strong news division. There was panic for many reasons.
Stirewalt is not unfamiliar to conservative political circles. He was previously the political editor of the right-ofcenter Washington Examiner.
He is not a stranger to controversy about the vote. Republican Mitt Romney's campaign staff was furious when Fox and other networks called Ohio to nominate then-President Barack Obama on Election Night 2012. Karl Rove, the chief political analyst of Fox, was shocked. (Rove also raised hundreds of million of dollars that year for Republican candidates. The majority of them lost. Megyn Kelly, then anchor, turned it into great TV by walking back to Arnon Mishikin's team at Fox to inquire about his numbers. They stood firm.
Stirewalt stated that "What happened in 2020 wasn't normal aEUR", a furious and murderous type of rage. Stirewalt said that he was shocked by the outrage directed at Fox by Trump and his campaign officials as well as core voters. Many of these core viewers made up Fox's core audience because of that Election Night call. It allowed Fox's smaller competitors, Newsmax and One America News, to run riot.
Stirewalt stated in an interview that Fox News should have been proud about the work they did and should have rewarded them. He also suggested that they should have lifted Stirewalt up. They should have supported the journalists they hired to do their job."
Mishkin and Stirewalt were subject to skeptical questioning by Fox's anchors. However, the network didn't back down despite intense pressure, even from Rupert Murdoch, who controls the parent company of the channel. One Republican senator demanded that Fox fire Stirewalt as well as Mishkin. The latter is still with the network.
Monday's testimony by Stirewalt (now politics editor for Nextar Media’s NewsNation cable channel) provided ballast to an obviously important goal of the committee that day.
The committee found that Trump was hearing directly from sources he should have believed most: his own lawyers and campaign aides, then Attorney General William Barr, and Fox News, whose opinion stars were among his closest advisors and greatest champions.
Stirewalt's comments made it clear that Fox's stars were saying things they knew to be false aEUR" about Trump’s ability to challenge Biden’s victories in court, and the existence of voter fraud.
"Don't listen to what partisans have to say about things. They have other things to say. Stirewalt asked. Stirewalt asked. He is a Republican. He will always tell you what is good for Republicans. He'll focus on the good for Democrats and leave out the bad news for Republicans. OK, fine. You don't have to pay attention because you already know what he will say.
Fox News avoided talking about Stirewalt Monday after his testimony. Instead, they focused on depositions of Bill Stepien (ex-Trump campaign manager) and other advisers and lawyers.
Stirewalt stated in an interview that "if there's one thing I hate as journalist, it's being the story." I want to tell the story, not the story. This little blip is now gone and I can return to my normal job of looking for election results like a truffle-pig.