Fox News abruptly cuts off Georgia election official debunking fraud claims to interview Trump aide

Top Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling was cut off for an interview with Jason Miller

By Jon Skolnik
January 6, 2021 2:59AM (UTC)
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Donald Trump | Fox News logo (Getty Images/FOX NEWS/Salon)

Fox News made the peculiar choice to cut off Georgia official Gabriel Sterling's press conference midway through his direct debunking of the Trump campaign's baseless fraud claims to give a platform to one of Trump's loudest sycophants, Jason Miller. Notably, Sterling thoroughly took apart each of Trump's election fraud claims in a pained, lawyer-like fashion.

"There is no shredding of ballots going on," Sterling, voting system implementation manager for the Georgia secretary of state's office, explained. "That's not real. That's not happening." The top election official added, "No one is changing parts or pieces out of Dominion voting machines[...] I don't even know what that means. It's not a real thing...I don't even know how exactly to explain that."

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Trump's leaked call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, in which the president demanded that the secretary "find" enough votes to overturn the election, also featured bizzare claims that the voting systems in the Peach State had been hacked during the November election.

"It's whack-a-mole again," Sterling said Monday. "It's Groundhog Day again."

Fox News host Bill Hemmer then interjected: "I know a lot of viewers are very much in tune with the clarifications he's trying to make. The videos that have gone viral. [Sterling] says there's nothing amiss there," a reference to the so-called "suitcase videos," which Trump's legal team claims show Georgia poll workers hiding untallied ballots in suitcases.

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When asked for a reaction to Sterling's take-down of Trump's baseless conspiracies, Miller criticized the timing of Sterling's press conference, arguing that it was two months too late. "The fact of the matter is, we're here January 4," Miller argued, "the day before the two run-off elections and Mr. Sterling was looking very nervous like someone that wasn't very confident that things are going to go smoothly tomorrow and not confident in maintaining their job."

Miller continued along this line by accusing Sterling of "glossing over" certain issues like signature matching, ballot curing, and out of state voting –– despite the fact that Sterling dedicated a great length of time to these very concerns. 

Hemmer, meanwhile, proved a relatively anodyne host, allowing Miller to spout his talking points without challenge. Miller, for instance, asked Hemmer, "Why wasn't [this presser] something that was done with our lawyers a month ago or even two months ago?"

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In response, Hemmer simply parroted Miller's own question, "Why was that?" You sound like a significant doubter based on this explanation."

Miller closed the interview with a Star Wars-infused talking point. "We have to get to the bottom of it and we can't be glossing over it and saying we're going to get to it at some point," he said. "Just because Gabe Sterling got up there and said, 'Well, I heard it and it's not that big of a deal.' You know, like Star Wars, 'These are not the droids you're looking for.'"

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Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a News Fellow at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, Alternet, and The New York Daily News.

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Donald Trump Fox News Gabriel Sterling Georgia Jason Miller Trump Campaign