Of Rove and FNC’s Decision Desk

If you watched it last night as I did, it was one of the more interesting sideshows on cable news election night coverage. New York Magazine’s deadly danger man Gabriel Sherman goes behind the scenes of last night’s FNC Rove vs. FNC’s Decision Desk bruhaha. More amazing than Sherman’s story is the fact that FNC commented on the record at all. I thought Sherman was permanently radioactive for FNC…

Shortly before 5 p.m. yesterday, Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes assembled his network’s election team in a second floor conference room at Fox’s midtown headquarters to discuss the night’s coverage. He prepared them for the worst. “Guys,” he told them according to a source familiar with the exchange, “if things don’t go your way tonight, don’t go out there looking like someone ran over your dog.”

Six hours later, American Crossroads co-founder and Fox News contributor Karl Rove was on-camera seeming to ignore his boss’s orders. Shortly after 11 p.m., Bret Baier went on-camera to read a script written by Fox’s Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, based on an analysis by the network’s decision desk, announcing Ohio for Obama. “That’s the presidency, essentially,” Baier said.

Instantly, Fox phones lit up with angry phone calls and e-mails from the Romney campaign, who believed that the call was premature, since tallies in several Republican-leaning Southern counties hadn’t been been fully tabulated. “The Romney people were totally screaming that we’re totally wrong,” one Fox source said. “To various people, they were saying, ‘your decision team is wrong.’” According to a Fox insider, Rove had been in contact with the Romney people all night. After the Ohio call, Rove — whose super-PAC had spent as much as $300 million on the election, to little avail — took their complaints public, conducting an on-air primer on Ohio’s electoral math in disputing the call.

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10 Responses to “Of Rove and FNC’s Decision Desk”

  1. This was very bizarre. The thing where they followed Megyn Kelly in to the decision room….. just. bizarre.

    He won, get over it.

  2. This is what happens when your “network analyst” is also the losing candidate’s SuperPAC guy. The conflict of interest was embarrassing.

  3. More importantly, conservatives live in an alternate reality where they thought this election wouldn’t be close and Governor Romney would win in a historic landslide. They got their butts kicked last night, and they didn’t see it coming.

  4. Of all the people you’d expect to have an on-air meltdown, Rove wasn’t even in the top five. I guess Morris was lucky to be alone with his Twitter..

  5. I saw the thing live and thought Fox handled it well. Baier, Kelly, Trippi and Wallace seemed a bit bemused and didn’t seem to be taking Rove all that seriously.

    I tend to have a bit of sympathy for Karl Rove as he must have seen his reputation as a political wunderkind going down the drain before his eyes on live TV. He probably just couldn’t believe that all the crap he had been peddling for months as fact was all being proven just not true and it must have been a shattering experience to his ego.

  6. One of the few times I agree with you fritz; boy was it hard to watch.

  7. Even harder was being in a house where some got their hopes up.

  8. Megyn Kelly is such an election expert, talk about handling it badly.

    I thought it was interesting that it unfolded on air. I would have expected the exchange to happen off air.

    Rove thought it was called too soon. It’s not like he hasn’t been doing this for a living for awhile now. I don’t see the big deal he had a difference of opinion, and voiced it. It’s not like everyone wasn’t being told Ad Nauseum how close Ohio was going to be. Rove remembered the 2004 race.

    I was watching Virginia, that was the domino to watch. Romney lost Virginia.

  9. I saw Rove’s bizarre behavior and he was almost talking in tongues along with looking like he lost his stash.

    Honestly, I think that guy is on a ‘natural’ crack high 24/7. He needs some medication to calm down a bit.

    Also, can someone do a ‘wellness check’ on Johnny Dollar?

    That said, of course I don’t expect much difference no matter whom the president.

  10. Now the blithering idiot is claiming Obama’s effective campaign “suppressed the vote”. I got news for ya, Karl, the candidate did some vote-depressing himself: He got less turnout than John McCain. Faced with the prospect of Mitt Romney, a whole bunch of ‘em sat it out. Oops.

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