Most Read

Local Fox Station Accidentally Airs Test Election Results With Democrat Ahead–And Yeah, What Could Go Wrong?

Phoenix Fox affiliate accidentally aired test election results with Katie Hobbs ahead of Kari Lake prompting conspiracy theories online.

Katie Hobbs; Kari Lake
OLIVIER TOURON/AFP via Getty Images; OLIVIER TOURON/AFP via Getty Images

The race for Arizona governor between MAGA Republican conspiracy theorist Kari Lake and Democratic Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs took an predictable turn this week when a Phoenix news station accidentally aired test election results that showed Hobbs ahead.

Local Fox affiliate Fox 10 mistakenly ran the test election results during its evening news broadcast Thursday in an onscreen graphic in a corner of the screen that attributed the results to the Associated Press.

Hobbs had led the race consistently until two weeks ago when Lake began to overtake her in the polls, a lead she has since widened to an average of almost three percentage points.

Given the polling and the times in which we live, Fox 10's mess-up immediately spawned unhinged conspiracy theories about election rigging.

The image went viral after fellow conspiracy theorist Republican Representative Paul Gosar—one of former Republican President Donald Trump's closest allies who is implicated in the planning of the January 6 insurrection and frequently parrots Trump's 2020 election fraud claims—shared a screengrab of the graphic to his Twitter feed.

He included accusations Fox 10 and the AP were attempting to rig the Arizona governor's race along with the screenshot.

His tweet read:

"Hey @fox10 what’s with the fake election graphic that’s got Hobbs over ⁦@KariLake?"
"Is this the same Fox News that called Arizona for Biden 5 minutes after the polls closed?"

Lake, who herself was a news anchor at Fox 10 for 22 years before going into politics last year, is a QAnon devotee who has run her campaign almost solely on a platform composed of Trump 2020 election conspiracy theories.

So naturally her supporters immediately took what Gosar served up and ran with it, posting absurd accusations of Fox 10 trying to rig the election.

One Facebook poster called the mistake "voter intimidation," which Arizona has a serious problem with: Right-wing vigilantes patrolling ballot boxes in the state that it has resulted in a federal lawsuit.

Fox 10 explained and apologized for the mistake on both Facebook and Twitter.

Other TV stations took to social media to explain how the AP's election results system works and how Fox 10's mess-up likely happened, in an attempt to help tamp down the outrage.

One such station, WTVC in Tennessee, explained fake results have to be input into the AP's system to test it and that is the reason Fox 10's graphic contained actual numbers, rather than "some nefarious, election-rigging plot."

But as you might guess, it has had little impact on the conspiratorial outrage on social media, and many found the whole thing deeply exasperating.




November 8 simply can't come soon enough.