Quiet media night explodes suddenly as Rove protestsPublished 3:25am Wednesday, November 7, 2012
NEW YORK (AP) — Careful media coverage of a close presidential election Tuesday exploded so suddenly Tuesday that it left the bizarre spectacle of Fox News Channel analyst Karl Rove, a major fundraiser for Republican Mitt Romney, publicly questioning his network’s declaration that President Barack Obama had been re-elected.
ABC News was also frantically trying to repair a power outage that left much of its set inoperable precisely at the time the election was being decided.
For several hours, election coverage resembled the run-up to a Super Bowl, with plenty of talk signifying little. Then NBC News, at 11:12 p.m. EST, was the first to declare Obama had won by virtue of winning the battleground state of Ohio. “He remains president of the United States for a second term,” said anchor Brian Williams.
Other networks followed suit, including Fox five minutes later. But Rove, the former top political aide to President George W. Bush whose on-air presence on Fox this campaign raised some eyebrows because of his prominent role supporting Romney, suggested the call was premature.
“We’ve got to be careful about calling things when we have like 991 votes separating the candidates and a quarter of the vote left to count … I’d be very cautious about intruding in this process,” said Rove, a behind-the-scenes player in the wild 2000 election between Bush and Al Gore that took weeks to decide. (Gore was on TV Tuesday, too, as anchor of Current TV’s election coverage).
It left Rove’s colleagues struggling for words.