King of Hearts: newsmax.com, “an even more far-right Fox News — like if your crazy uncle had a crazy uncle”

“Why Newsmax Supports Trump’s False Voter-Fraud Claims”

NEWSMAX founder Ruddy“Well, I believe that Donald Trump’s been great for the news business. And I think there’s nothing wrong in saying that”.​ newyorker.com, Nov. 24, 2020

  • Newsmax has seen its audience grow thanks to Trump, who turned on Fox News in the final months of the 2020 campaign because Fox News journalists and pollsters provided an accurate narrative of the presidential race, even as Fox’s conservative commentators indulged in Tump’s voter fraud theories.
  • Since then-President Trump’s election defeat Nov. 3, the mantra for Newsmax opinion host Greg Kelly on his nightly program has been, “It’s not over.”
  • Newsmax’s Kelly became TV’s most unabashed Trump supporter as he defended the ousted president’s unfounded claims of voter fraud that fueled a mob assault on the Capitol.
  • His rants found an audience, some nights approaching one million viewers, enough to make him an irritant to Fox News, the established choice for conservative viewers. latimes.com, Jan. 20, 2021
  • Increasing audience share and profits – at what cost to democracy? 
    • Fox, Newsmax shoot down their own aired claims on election”, the Associated Press, thestar.com, Dec. 22, 2020
    • The two U.S. TV networks “have aired segments highlighting the lack of evidence linking electronic voting machines to fraud in the US election”. 
    • Newsmax host John Tabacco read out in full the statement published on the network’s website: “Newsmax would like to clarify its news coverage and note it has not reported as true certain claims made about these companies.”  “No evidence has been offered that Dominion or Smartmatic used software or reprogrammed software that manipulated votes in the 2020 election.” bbc.com, Dec. 22, 2020​
    • Watch out for this misinformation when Congress meets to certify the election”, including this false claim on Newsmax: In an interview on the conservative cable channel Newsmax in December, the Arizona Republican chairwoman, Kelli Ward, said 200,000 ballots were digitally changed to give the victory to Mr. Biden, . Fact: Audits in Arizona have found no evidence of voter fraud, or changed vote tallies. nytimes.com , Jan. 6, 2021

 

“Voting machine firm Smartmatic alleges Newsmax has deleted evidence in lawsuit over false vote-rigging claims”

NBC News:

Smartmatic alleges that Newsmax has destroyed evidence in the voting machine company’s lawsuit against the right-wing news channel over false claims that Smartmatic helped “rig” the 2020 election, according to court documents made public this week. 

Lawyers for Florida-based Smartmatic allege that Newsmax engaged in a “cover-up” by destroying texts and emails of key executives that would demonstrate the network’s knowledge that voting fraud claims being pushed by former President Donald Trump and his allies were untrue. Smartmatic says the deletions occurred after Newsmax had received notice to preserve evidence for the pending suit.

In a statement, Newsmax said it “categorically” denies the allegations.

The lawsuit is just one of many major defamation cases filed by Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems against news organizations over false claims about fraud in 2020 election. Most are still pending, and several may go to trial this fall — ensuring that Trump’s claims about a “rigged election” in 2020 will continue to be a focus even as the next presidential election nears.

 

Rudy Giuliani Becomes Unhinged in Newsmax Interview Over Trump Indictment

MICHELLE GOLDBERG

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/17/opinion/fox-news-dominion

[Excerpts:]

The brief, a motion for summary judgment in a case stemming from Fox’s egregiously false claims of Dominion-abetted election fraud, offers a portrait of extravagant cynicism. It reveals how obsessed Carlson and other leading Fox News figures were with audience share, and their fear of being outflanked by even further-right outlets like Newsmax.

“It’s remarkable how weak ratings make good journalists do bad things,” Bill Sammon, a Fox senior vice president until 2021, is quoted as saying. It’s a line that would fall flat on “Succession” because it’s too absurdly on the nose.

As the Dominion filing lays out, there was panic at Fox News over viewer backlash to the network correctly calling Arizona for Joe Biden on election night. Despite its accuracy, the call was viewed, internally, as a catastrophe.

“Do the executives understand how much credibility and trust we’ve lost with our audience?” Carlson texted his producer. He added, “An alternative like Newsmax could be devastating to us.” Sean Hannity, in an exchange with fellow hosts Carlson and Laura Ingraham, fretted about the “incalculable” damage the Arizona projection did to the Fox News brand and worried about a competitor emerging: “Serious $$ with serious distribution could be a real problem.”

Hyping false claims about election fraud was a way for Fox to win its audience back. While the Arizona call was “damaging,” Fox News C.E.O. Suzanne Scott wrote in a text to Fox executive Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son, “We will highlight our stars and plant flags letting the viewers know we hear them and respect them.”

When Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich fact-checked Trump’s wild claims about Dominion on Twitter, Carlson was enraged and tried to get her fired. “It needs to stop immediately, like tonight,” he texted Hannity. “It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.” (Heinrich kept her job but deleted the tweet.)

The network knew, of course, that Trump’s lawyer Sidney Powell, a chief promoter of Dominion conspiracy theories, was a delusional fantasist. The legal brief reveals that some of her claims about Dominion were based on an email Powell had received from someone who claimed to be capable of “time travel in a semiconscious state.” On Nov. 18, 2020, Carlson told Ingraham: “Sidney Powell is lying by the way. Caught her. It’s insane.” Ingraham wrote back that Powell was a “complete nut.”

But according to the Dominion brief, an analysis by Ron Mitchell, the senior vice president for prime-time programming and analytics, found that “Fox viewers were switching the channel specifically to watch Sidney Powell as a guest” on Newsmax. A few days after this analysis, Powell was a guest on Hannity’s show.

At one point, Carlson did express skepticism of Powell on-air, noting on Nov. 19 that she had never produced evidence for her claims. “Maybe Sidney Powell will come forward soon with details on exactly how this happened, and precisely who did it,” he said, adding, “We are certainly hopeful that she will.”

Even this gentle note of doubt produced viewer pushback, though most of a message about it from Fox executive Raj Shah is redacted. Afterward, Carlson seems to have given up trying to steer his audience away from total credulity about Trump’s stolen election claims, even though he privately called Trump a “demonic force.”

On Jan. 26, Carlson hosted MyPillow founder Mike Lindell on his show and let him sound off about Dominion without resistance. In fairness, Carlson may have had a motive for indulging Lindell besides grubbing for ratings. As Media Matters for America pointed out, MyPillow at the time was Carlson’s single biggest advertiser.

“Respecting this audience whether we agree or not is critical,” Hannity texted on Nov. 24. It’s a version of respect indistinguishable from contempt.

“The Daily Show” guest host Sarah Silverman called Newsmax “basically an even more far-right Fox News — like if your crazy uncle had a crazy uncle.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/16/arts/television/sarah-silverman-newsmax-woke

On Tuesday, a reporter for Newsmax asked Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, if President Biden was “woke.”

Sarah Silverman, guest host for “The Daily Show,” called Newsmax “basically an even more far-right Fox News — like if your crazy uncle had a crazy uncle.”

“I think we’re just communicating wrong, because, like, what I know ‘woke’ to mean is, like, learning new things about people or the world, and then acting accordingly. Like, basic kindness. Maybe a gesture of care to people who are more vulnerable than you. You know what, actually you wouldn’t like it — it’s Jesus stuff.” — SARAH SILVERMAN

“This guy really thinks, ‘Is Joe Biden woke?’ was like a hard-hitting question. The real hard-hitting question would be, ‘Is Joe Biden awake?’” — SARAH SILVERMAN

“It feels cooler to say, ‘I’m not woke’ than the truth, which is, ‘I’m terrified of what I don’t understand and I only know how to process that as anger because I can’t look inward.’” — SARAH SILVERMAN

From The Daily Beast,  Friday Digest

Tracy Connor, Editor in Chief

October 21, 2022

https://www.thedailybeast.com/category/politics

Dear Beast Readers, 

Hello from The Daily Beast, where we watch Newsmax so you don’t have to.

I joke, but something distinctly un-funny happened on the right-wing network this week: Former CBS investigative correspondent Lara Logan was welcomed back on the air to rant about the so-called Great Replacement, Satan, global cabals, and blood libel.

Her unhinged antisemitic comments might have gone unnoticed by everyone except Newsmax viewers primed to lap them up if it were not for Justin Baragona on our media team, who whipped up a story detailing her flogging of vile conspiracy theories and tropes.

Hundreds of thousands of people read that story, which got Lara Logan trending on Twitter. Then, last night, Newsmax banned Logan—who was becoming a fixture on Eric Bolling’s show—from the network, calling her comments “reprehensible,” which they had not done on air in real time.

This is what we strive for at the Beast: holding people and institutions accountable and having an impact. Thanks for helping us make it possible.

Have a relaxing weekend. We’ll be keeping an eye on Newsmax!

Newsmax apologizes to Dominion worker for false allegations

 By DAVID BAUDER

April 30, 2021

https://apnews.com/article/election-recounts-election-2020-government-and-politics-arts-and-entertainment-80321b21dfb3926564efb55e8cbf9f22

NEW YORK (AP) — Newsmax apologized on Friday for airing false allegations that an employee for Dominion Voting Systems manipulated machines or tallies on Election Day to the detriment of former President Donald Trump.

Eric Coomer, security director at the Colorado-based firm, in turn dropped Newsmax from a defamation lawsuit.

The conservative news network, in a statement published on its website and to be read on TV, said that while it aired the accusations against Coomer made by Trump’s lawyers and supporters, it found no evidence that they were true.

Newsmax, which ran Dominion’s denials of the accusations when they were made, also said it had found no evidence that Coomer had spoken to “Antifa” or any partisan organization.

“We would like to apologize for any harm that our reporting of the allegations against Dr. Coomer may have caused to Dr. Coomer and his family,” the network said. He said in his lawsuit that he had gone into hiding because of death threats.

Coomer’s lawsuit also targets the Trump campaign, lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, columnist Michelle Malkin, the website Gateway Pundit, Colorado activist Joseph Oltmann and One America News Network. Those claims are continuing, a spokeswoman said.

Neither Newsmax nor a Coomer spokeswoman would comment on whether Coomer was paid anything to drop the company from his lawsuit.

Newsmax also told its audience, many of them Trump supporters that “many of the states whose results were contested by the Trump campaign after the November 2020 election have conducted extensive recounts and audits, and each of these states certified the results as legal and final.”

 

AUGUST 10, 2021 

“All Roads Lead to Mar-a-Lago”: Inside the Fury and Fantasy of Donald Trump’s Florida

Roger Stone, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Ben Shapiro—they’ve all made their way to the Sunshine State, fueling and profiting from a tabloid culture that turns politics into spectacle, arguably Florida’s greatest export.

BY JOE HAGAN

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/08/the-fury-and-fantasy-of-donald-trumps-florida

 [Excerpts:]

Nowhere was this tabloid conversion more evident than in Newsmax, the right-wing media company founded by Chris Ruddy, who had made his name questioning the suicide of White House counsel Vince Foster, feeding the conspiracy theory that the Clintons were somehow involved. Fresh off a book on the subject, Ruddy moved to West Palm Beach from New York in 1998 and started Newsmax with backing from right-wing financier Richard Mellon Scaife, hoping to build a conservative media empire and take the company public.

Ruddy’s media menu included a healthy dose of right-wing conspiracy, including Trump’s favorite—Obama’s birth certificate. “Ruddy loves conspiracy theories,” says a former Newsmax employee. “They’re great for hysteria in the media. He also loves psychics and predictions of stuff.”

Ruddy mined the National Enquirer for hires, recruiting veteran editor Steve Coz to run Newsmax editorial. Meanwhile, he knocked around Mar-a-Lago, trying to meet powerful people, and launched Newsmax TV. By 2016, Trump was running for the GOP nomination, but Ruddy initially backed Ted Cruz. “I remember in 2016 being at Trump International Golf Club for a Sunday brunch and sitting at this table with Chris,” says Leamer, a former social friend. “And Trump comes over and Chris didn’t even want to talk to him because Trump wanted Chris to turn Newsmax pro-Trump. And Ruddy felt that Trump was a psychopath.” (Ruddy declined to comment on the record.)

Ruddy became a full-time Trump functionary, cashing in on the demand for pro-Trump news, building up his TV network, dining with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, and watching his revenue rise. “He made his pact with the devil,” as Leamer put it. “He knew what Trump was.”

Newsmax went all in as Trump sought re-election (Ruddy made another former National Enquirer editor, David Perel, the editorial director) and Newsmax TV gave credence to every lie told by Trump up to and including speculation that Biden was “cognitively impaired” and that the election was stolen through chicanery involving Dominion Voting Systems. While the January 6 Capitol riots were under way, Newsmax initially reported that it was only “6 to 10 people” breaching the building and speculated that they were antifa, later providing uncritical airtime to a Trump rioter who declared “this is our house, and we have the right to be here.”

In recent years, Ruddy has expressed regret for overzealous attacks on Bill Clinton in the 1990s, personally reconciling with the former president and donating $1 million to his foundation. One might presume his regret extended to spreading conspiracy theories like the Vince Foster canard, but business is business, and Ruddy merely moved on to other fake stories, giving voluminous airtime and ink, even after the insurrection, to “stolen election” conspiracy mongers Mike Lindell, the MyPillow founder, and former Trump lawyer Rudolph Giuliani.

 

Smartmatic, an election technology company that faced baseless accusations of rigging the 2020 election, has filed a similar lawsuit against Fox News.

The legal battle against disinformation from right-wing media outlets is expanding.

Smartmatic, an election technology firm that became a target of pro-Trump conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential race, sued Newsmax and One America News Network on Wednesday for defamation, demanding that the conservative cable networks face jury trials for spreading falsehoods about the company.

The new lawsuits add to a growing suite of litigation by Smartmatic and another election technology provider, Dominion, which found itself mired in the same conspiracy theories. In February, Smartmatic sued Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corporation and several Fox anchors on similar grounds, as well as two of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Sidney Powell and Rudolph W. Giuliani.

“We are holding them accountable for what they tell their audience,” J. Erik Connolly, a lawyer for Smartmatic, said in an interview.

Dominion has sued Fox, Newsmax, One America News, Ms. Powell, Mr. Giuliani, and Mike Lindell, the chief executive of MyPillow.

Smartmatic and Dominion were both accused by pro-Trump forces, without evidence, of rigging vote tallies in key states to swing the election to Joseph R. Biden Jr., part of a large-scale effort by Mr. Trump’s allies to cast doubt on the 2020 results. Those conspiracies have only expanded in the year since Mr. Biden won, as leading Republican officials and media personalities have continued to raise doubts about Mr. Trump’s defeat.

The lawsuits are one tactic being used to address an urgent civic matter: how to curb misinformation that has flowed copiously from right-wing news and opinion outlets.

For Newsmax and One America News — relatively fledgling outlets that have nurtured small but devoted followings — the stakes may be existential. Unlike Fox, which is hugely profitable, Newsmax and One America News are poorly positioned to absorb significant financial penalties.

Newsmax said in a statement on Wednesday that it had “reported accurately on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the president, his advisers and members of Congress, as well as reporting on Smartmatic’s claims in its defense.” The company called the Smartmatic suit “a clear attempt to squelch the rights of a free press.” One America News did not return a request for comment.

“Democracy is not what governments do; it’s what people do.”

— Howard Zinn