Fox News called the U.S. House of Representatives for the Democrats on Tuesday night just after 9:30 p.m. EST — with polls still open in California for nearly an hour and a half.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) November 7, 2018
No other network followed Fox News’ lead, with CNN and MSNBC preferring instead to track close races, largely east of the Mississippi River.
The decision prompted criticism from pundits and on social media:
So the media story of the night certainly seems to be the early Fox News call of the House for Dems. Seems wild to call it this early, pre-Calif. #Midterms2018
— Ben White (@morningmoneyben) November 7, 2018
• Fox News calls House for Democrats before 10 p.m. ET
• Every other major news organization says it’s way, way too early to call, and could go either way.
• New York Times projection needle broken.
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) November 7, 2018
— SFGate (@SFGate) November 7, 2018
At least seven races were thought to be crucial to the final outcome in California, with Democrats targeting seven Republican-held seats where Hillary Clinton won more votes than Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
Fox News’ early call may have discouraged voters from participating in California — and in other western states whose polls remained open.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.