For weeks ahead of the 2020 election, the conservative Fox News network amplified then-President Donald Trump's fearmongering on mail-in ballots and election security, while platforming primetime hosts who eagerly repeated Trump's talking points to millions of viewers.
So it came as a surprise when Fox News was the first network to declare then-candidate Joe Biden the winner of the typically red Arizona's 11 electoral votes.
The Trump campaign was furious, and reports emerged that Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and even Trump himself called Fox owner Rupert Murdoch to pressure him to have the call changed—an ultimately unsuccessful effort.
With a dragged out partisan audit whose results have yet to be released, Arizona continues to be a major target of Republican lies regarding the validity of the 2020 election.
Now, Fox's political editor at the time—Chris Stirewalt—spoke to Australia's ABC TV about the decision to declare Arizona for Biden, and his subsequent firing after the controversy.
Stirewalt recounted the "terrible feeling of humiliation" when he was let go from the network in January, and suggested it was another embodiment of Fox's growing allegiance to Trump:
"Trump was a dangerous entity, and no one could control him. The company went through a rebranding several months later. And we were stunned to see that the phrase 'Fair and Balanced,' which had been our core, had been removed."
Stirewalt continues to write political commentary for other publications.
Social media users weren't surprised that he was fired from Fox.
They saw the incident as yet another indication of Fox's well-documented conservative bias.
Fox News issued a statement regarding the new Four Corners documentary about the network's 2020 election coverage, airing on ABC TV in Australia.
"The episode clearly violates the basic tenets of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's published standards by exhibiting bias and a failure to maintain any level of impartiality in the presentation of news and information. The use of five former deeply disgruntled employees, only one of whom was part of the company during our coverage of the 2020 U.S. presidential election and its aftermath, single handedly discredits all credibility of the program. As for the events of January 6th, implicating FOX News in any way is false and malicious. Congressional hearings this past February and the Biden Justice Department not only did not implicate FOX, but other media companies were cited as platforms for inciting and coordinating the Capitol riots. We stand by our coverage with our millions of viewers who have made us the most-watched cable news network in the U.S. for nearly two decades."