Stelter, Michael Wolff battle over book claims

CNN media pundit Brian Stelter and author Michael Wolff on Sunday sparred over claims Wolff made in his book about election night 2020 and Fox News's decision to call Arizona for President BidenJoe BidenBiden authorizes up to 0M for Afghan refugees Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe MORE.

"You want this to be true," Wolff told Stelter of Fox News's recent denial that News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch on election night last year personally decided that the outlet should call Arizona for Biden. 

Wolff, in his new book, wrote, "Lachlan [Murdoch's son] got his father on the phone to ask if he wanted to make the early call. His father, with signature grunt, assented, adding, 'F--- him.'" 

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Fox News in a statement soon after the book was published called the story "completely false."

"Arnon Mishkin who leads the FOX News Decision Desk made the Arizona call on election night and FOX News Media President Jay Wallace was then called in the control room. Any other version of the story is wildly inaccurate," a Fox News spokesperson said when Wolff's reporting was revealed.

Stelter — a frequent critic of Fox News who recently penned a book of his own blaming the network for downplaying the dangers of the coronavirus and giving credence to former President TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Has Trump beaten the system? MORE's assertions about voter fraud — alleged the reporting he did for his own book directly contradicts what Wolff wrote about election night, Fox and the Trump campaign. 

"There's simply no evidence that the Murdochs had anything to do with it, and ample evidence to the contrary," Stelter said in a tweet earlier this month. 

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During an appearance on Stelter's "Reliable Sources" program on Sunday, Wolff told Stelter, "You seem to want it to be true that Fox is questioning my reporting." 

"It is an interesting thing that week after week all you do is question Fox, question its veracity, question its honor, question et cetera et cetera, but suddenly now you think that they might be honest to a fault," Wolff said.

Stelter pointed out he "never questioned the decision desk." 

"I am Rupert Murdoch’s biographer," Wolff said later in the interview, defending himself from Fox's denials. 

"One of many," Stelter added. 

“No, not one of many. That’s totally ridiculous!” Wolff shot back. “I am the singular biographer ... who was given enormous access to him. I am well sourced throughout the company and throughout his family. ... I know this happened.”

Several media outlets, subjects and Washington, D.C, insiders have called Wolff's reporting for previous books into question.