Who is Arnon Mishkin? Arnon Mishkin is a management consultant and director of Fox News Decision Desk. A veteran of Fox News, he has been working for Fox New’s Decision Desk since the year 2008.
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Arnon Mishkin, a clumsy number shredder, is probably not used to being the target of political attacks.
But that’s what happened Thursday, when President Trump’s re-election campaign targeted Mishkin, a management consultant who runs the Fox News Channel decision table. The campaign has opposed the office’s decision to call the state of Arizona for Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday, and maintain it, even when the margin in the state has been significantly reduced.
Late Tuesday, after Fox’s decision table initially called the state for Biden, Mishkin gave an interview to his own colleagues to say that although there were more votes, “the president will not be able to take over and win enough votes to eliminate “Biden’s advantage.
Trump’s campaign immediately opposed the call, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, contacted Rupert Murdoch, whose family controls Fox News’ parent company, according to people familiar with the exchange. Trump himself didn’t complain to Murdoch. “If I had, I wouldn’t have interfered with or changed our call,” Murdoch wrote in an email to The Washington Post. Fox was the only one who called the state, and the longer it’s gone, the more public and personal the objections of the Trump campaign have become.
In the final hours of Thursday morning, the Trump campaign’s rapid response operation sent a tweet criticizing Mishkin and included a screenshot of his donation history, showing that he donated more than $1,500 to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. More recently, he gave $50 to the ActBlue Democratic voting platform in May 2019. Some of his political donations have gone to Republican candidates. Mishkin has been an analyst at Fox’s decision desk since 1998 and began running it ten years later, in 2008.
The campaign went even further in an email explosion, calling Mishkin a “Democratic operative” and a “Democrat who votes for Clinton and donates to Biden.” The campaign is right to say mishkin donated to Democrats and voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, but Mishkin has made this information public and revealed it to the New York Times in September.
It is unusual for a political campaign to be directing such an animaversion to a decision-table analyst. Each TV news network has an independent team like this that tabulates vote counts and makes predictions about state victories. Still, due to the perception that Fox is pro-Trump, his decision-making operation has attracted a lot of attention since long before the election.
Mishkin, for his part, has not backed down, and has made several appearances on Fox News to defend the call. When a host noted Wednesday that the Trump campaign argues he has the votes to beat Biden in Arizona, Mishkin replied, “If a frog had wings.”
The Associated Press, which works with the same data firm as Fox and is using the same numbers to analyze the vote, also called Arizona for Biden. On Thursday, two Fox News presenters Brian Kilmeade and Bill Hemmer told viewers that the network is on the move to their call in the state.
After former White House adviser President Kellyanne Conway criticized the network’s Arizona call in an interview on “Fox & Friends” thursday, Kilmeade replied, “That was a decision of the decision desk. And, you know, we support Arizona’s decision. But that makes the decision table.”
On Election Night, Fox News set a record for the highest all-time all-time all-time election day totals in cable news history, according to Nielsen. Between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. On Tuesday, 14.1 million viewers tuned in to Fox News. The next most-watched channel on election night was CNN, with 9 million viewers over the same time period. Fox’s audience has consistently outperformed its rivals. Even major television networks attracted less than half of Fox’s audience.
Fox News Channel did not respond to a request for comment on the campaign’s attacks on Mishkin, who is not a network employee, but runs the decision table as a consultant.