This looks like it was scripted by Ricky Gervais. I watched with my jaw slowly dropping lower and lower (which was hard since I was smiling so widely as well). James Poniewozik calls it “one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen on cable news”:
It was a fitting moment for an election that often seemed to be a campaign over the idea of mathematical knowability itself. But it was also a glaring, and embarrassing, example of the extent to which Fox News has become an arm of the Republican Party and is expected by GOP operatives to behave as one. Rove may be a party big shot, but he’s just a guy giving analysis on Fox’s air. He does not run the network, even if his friends do.
And yet apparently no one in Fox’s studio felt empowered to tell him that, just because he’d raised a squillion dollars for his Republican SuperPAC this election, he is not entitled to have the decision desk hauled out to answer to him like chefs who sent out an undercooked steak. It’s the sort of thing that might cause you to examine your mission as a journalistic network. I’m not waiting up for that to happen, though.
In the end, Rove is a numbers guy too, and he finally had to concede to the arithmetic–but not before creating a defining image of a partisan, and a network, at war with the very reality it could not avoid reporting.
Last night, Roger Ailes’ walls came tumbling down. Because their foundations were not based in reality, just ratings. Fox deserves a great deal of credit for re-electing president Obama. Because they refused to see who he actually was, they could not effectively counter him. They countered a figment of their imagination – and it was a particularly nasty, bilious, mean figment. Their universe became a black hole last night, sucking almost all of them in.