- A Fox affiliate station in Phoenix mistakenly shared test election results during a live newscast.
- “This graphic was never meant to go on air — the numbers were only part of a test,” Fox 10 acknowledged.
- The incident sparked conspiracy theories on social media about election rigging.
A Fox affiliate TV station in Arizona acknowledged it mistakenly revealed test election results during a live broadcast, and the switch triggered conspiracy theories about rigged voting.
Fox 10 Phoenix acknowledged in a Thursday evening time assertion that a small graphic with test results for an upcoming election appeared in the underside left a a part of the show during a live newscast at 5:50 p.m. native time. It acknowledged the results have been generated and distributed by the Associated Press, which has historically provided election results to buyers.
Although Fox 10 did not determine the exact race it accidentally shared results for, screen-grabs of the newscast circulated on social media displaying results for Arizona’s gubernatorial election — which is between Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs and Republican candidate Kari Lake.
“This graphic was never meant to go on air — the numbers were only part of a test. The station has taken steps to make sure this cannot happen again,” Fox 10 acknowledged.
One screengrab of the newscast posted to Twitter by Arizona GOP Rep. Paul Gosar confirmed the test election results giving Hobbs 53% of the vote with Lake buying 47%. The timestamp of the screengrab matched with when Fox 10 acknowledged the incident occurred.
—Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) October 28, 2022
The mistake, which Fox 10 acknowledged in statements shared on every Twitter and Facebook, triggered some harsh commentary of the data station and prompted individuals to publish conspiracy theories on the social media platforms.
“Why is it when these ‘tests’ are done, the Democrat is always in the lead?” one Twitter shopper wrote in response.
“I hope you get sued for this. I can’t wait to see the discovery process happen. Are Fox 10 and the @AP in the process of rigging an election? Who put you up to this? It will all come into the light…” one different shopper acknowledged.
On Facebook, one shopper accused the media of “already telling us” the election consequence “regardless of the vote tally.”
“Voter Intimidation Fox 10 Phoenix. Ballots are still being collected and your station does this!! No Excuse!!” one different shopper acknowledged.
In safety of Fox 10’s mistake, Tennessee’s WTVC NewsChannel 9 acknowledged the test election results are “not some nefarious, election-rigging plot. FYI.”
“Making you aware that before every election night, the @AP tests its election results system — which we use — to make sure it’s running properly. You can’t test it properly without putting numbers in to test it,” WTVC said.
The incident comes amid heightened rhetoric amongst Republicans about baseless election fraud claims merely a few weeks ahead of the 2022 midterms.
Earlier this month, the FBI even warned voters about the potential for diverse election crimes.