The former Fox News editor who called Arizona for Biden says the Cyber Ninjas audit was meant to undermine trust in elections


CNN’s Jim Acosta questions former Fox News editor Chris Stirewalt about the Arizona audit on September 26, 2021 CNN

  • Former Fox News editor Chris Stirewalt addressed the Arizona audit in an appearance on CNN.

  • He called it a ploy to undermine the results, not a genuine attempt to prove or disprove fraud.

  • Stirewalt says he was fired by Fox News for calling Arizona for Joe Biden on Election Night.

  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The former Fox News editor who parted ways with the right-wing network after calling Arizona for Joe Biden in last year’s election weighed in on the controversial audit of votes in the state conducted by firm Cyber Ninjas.

In an appearance on CNN’s “Newsroom” on Sunday, host Jim Acosta asked former Fox News Digital Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt about the recount of votes in Arizona’s Maricopa County.

The audit had been hyped by Donald Trump’s supporters who claimed it would uncover evidence of a plot to deprive Trump of victory.

But its results, released last week, concluded that Biden had indeed won the state, by a slightly higher margin that the official count.

Stirewalt claims his involvement in the decision for Fox News to call Arizona for Joe Biden ahead of any other news cost him his job.

Fox News has disputed his account, saying he was made redundant as part of a restructuring program.

Acosta on Sunday asked Stirewalt if he felt vindicated by the result of the audit, and he replied that he didn’t.

“The very doing of it is the bad thing,” said Stirewalt, regardless of the result.

“The point of these is to undermine confidence. It’s not what the finding is,” Stirewalt said. “So I take no satisfaction or pleasure from seeing this outcome that roughly corresponds with the real results. They’re doing their damage anyway.”

The Arizona call stunned the Trump White House at the time, with the former president deploying his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to lobby the network to take it back. Biden was the first Democrat in decades to win the state.

The Arizona defeat continues to fixate Trump and his allies. The state’s Republican-controlled Senate commissioned Cyber Ninjas to conduct an audit of votes after the former president spent months stirring conspiracy theories that the election had been tainted by mass fraud.

The audit, which took eight months and was beset by accusations of sloppiness and partisan bias, wound up last week finding that that Biden had indeed won the state, in line with the official result.

Stirewalt in an article for the Los Angeles Times said he became the target of “murderous rage” over the Arizona call, which other outlets including Insider also made in the days that followed. It was confirmed by the official vote count.

Stirewalt went on to express his “sincere sympathy for people who were duped” by election-fraud conspiracy theories, and said he has “only disdain for the people who continue to promulgate” those ideas.

“The point is to undermine voter confidence in the process,” Stirewalt said. “Unfortunately, members of both parties make a habit of doing that these days. But we have a direct assault on the legitimacy of our elections. It is a problem, and you cannot placate your way out of this, Republican Party.”

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