Karl Rove's Fox News Meltdown Was The Best TV Of Election Night
The former Bush guru's Fox News meltdown was amazing television.
During these long months, the election at first seemed like a blowout, then it got close (maybe), and then all anyone cared about was either loving or hating The New York Times’ Nate Silver. When it finally came to an end Tuesday night, even the most devout Obama fan would have to agree that the listless TV coverage reflected the country’s exhaustion.
And then Karl Rove totally freaked out after Fox News, his television employers, called Ohio, and therefore the election, for President Obama.
I flipped over to Fox to see what was up with them. They’d been muted all night, with talk of the “inside straight” Romney would need to win. With Ohio looking like a sure bet for Obama, they had called the race too.
Which is when Bush’s Brain said no! And had a full-scale hissy fit, insisting that FNC un-call the race. He cited a lot of numbers that made him sound, well, nuts.
From there, great television ensued, and I have to hand it to anchors Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly: They managed both to indulge Rove and to openly mock him, simultaneously. I’ve never seen anything like it.
The highlight was Kelly walking — and walking, and walking, and walking — to go interview the Fox News decision desk statisticians about why they were sure about making the Ohio call. They cited a lot of demographic voting nerd facts I didn’t even hear, because I was too busy laughing that Kelly had said, “Oh, look, there’s the beautiful Jenna Lee!” as she passed by an office during her on-air march. I did hear them say, however, they were very comfortable with their call.
Later in the broadcast, Baier threw to contributor Charles Krauthammer and mentioned his background in psychiatry, saying that perhaps he could help their current situation. (I e-mailed a Fox News publicist to ask whether the network had a comment about the Rove twist and haven’t heard back.)
Over at MSNBC, the Rove development caused Rachel Maddow to turn into an Aaron Sorkin character. (One of the good ones.) She could not believe his stance, referring to him as “one of the largest outside spenders in this race in favor of Mitt Romney” and that he was trying to get FNC to “rescind its call in Ohio to the candidate that he has bankrolled to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars." She used the Rove example to try to make a larger point about the divisive election. “When it comes down to ‘I do not believe the election,’” Maddow said, “that is something bigger than a problem with the individual news cycle. That is a problem on the right.”
Later, though, Maddow tried to figure out the electoral vote count if the president hadn’t actually won Ohio. Republican strategist Steve Schmidt had to tell her that wasn’t going to happen — Obama did win Ohio.
Rove had done his job.