Newsmax Tries to Exploit the Strained Relationship Between Trump and Fox News

Business, Media, Politics
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Most mainstream and conservative oriented media has had little to say about what is being described by some as a “major development” at the Newsmax network. But liberal media is relishing the drama that is unfolding.

The Daily Beast reports:

“In its longshot quest to take on Fox News as the leading conservative cable-news destination, Newsmax has enlisted the services of Bill O’Reilly’s long-time executive producer.

“Newsmax chief Chris Ruddy confirmed to The Daily Beast that David Tabacoff, who served as O’Reilly’s right-hand man for 16 years, is working with the upstart cable channel as it ramps up its efforts to compete with rivals like Fox News and One America News Network.

“David is advising us as a consultant,” Ruddy said in an email. “He is one of the greatest producers in television, and we’re glad to have him assist us in building out our programming as we reach over 70 million cable homes.”

“Tabacoff worked for ABC News for 25 years before joining Fox News in 2001, serving as O’Reilly’s top producer for nearly two decades until the primetime star’s ouster over multiple sexual-harassment settlements. Tabacoff clarified to The Daily Beast that he is ‘working as a consultant with a few clients.’”

“Since leaving Fox News shortly after O’Reilly’s April 2017 firing, Tabacoff has kept a relatively low profile. Although he is a veteran of Fox’s decidedly right-wing primetime programming, his Twitter account resembles the views of a #Resistance liberal—highly critical of President Trump with retweets of Never-Trump Republicans and liberal figures like historian Kevin Kruse.”

Newsmax’s moves do not end with Tabacoff. Salon notes:

“Tabacoff, (Justin)Baragona notes, is not the first former Fox News executive Newsmax TV has hired: earlier this year, Michael Clemente (who left Fox in 2016) was brought on board as CEO. On top of that, Newsmax TV has been using O’Reilly as a featured guest for ‘No Spin News’ segments — and according to Baragona, Ruddy has indicated that he would like to hire former Fox News star Megyn Kelly.” Justin Baragona is a journalist with The Daily Beast.

It appears that the recent push by Newsmax for bigger names and more prominent talent is because of the recent acrimony in the relationship between President Trump and Fox News. It appears the long time love fest is either strained or worse. The following clips are telling.

MSNBC reports on Trump’s recent attack on the Fox News Network.

Neil Cavuto’s reminds the President that the Fox News Network doesn’t work for the White House:

The tension between Trump and his “favorite” network is palpable, and Newsmax has always tried to be overtly conservative, which is something Fox News has resisted. It was not that long ago when Fox News had the motto of “Fair and Balanced.” Newsmax, which was a magazine long before it was a TV Network, has never been so subtle.

The question is, can Newsmax even be considered as competition to Fox News in the eyes of viewers? In the world of media, style matters, and even if Newsmax’s team can provide outstanding news content, it is difficult to take it as seriously as Fox, visually. The imaging, the sets, and event the graphics lag behind Fox. In addition, with rare exception, it has a team of largely unknown journalists.

Newsmax has a significant reach issue. While Fox News is clearly found on Cable, Satellite, and (recently) paid streaming; Newsmax has taken a hodgepodge approach. It is the type of approach a network takes then it desires as many potential eyes possible, but does not have the resource to take a strategic approach. Newsmax has terrestrial affiliates in 14 markets and includes many on substations.  When on substations, it is highly unlikely it will get picked up by local cable. Furthermore, “it is an American free-to-air news channel that is owned by Newsmax Media. The live stream of the channel is also available for free online. The channel primarily broadcasts from Newsmax’s New York studio near Bryant Park, carrying a news/talk format during the day and acquired documentaries and films at night.

“The channel was created by American journalist and Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy. It launched on June 16, 2014 to 35 million satellite subscribers through DirecTV and Dish Network. As of February 16, 2018, the network reaches over 50 million homes.” The rest of its reach is via online and streaming platforms like Roku.

Meanwhile Fox News has a massive reach: “It launched on October 7, 1996, to 17 million cable subscribers. Fox News grew during the late 1990s and 2000s to become the dominant subscription news network in the U.S. As of February 2015, approximately 94,700,000 US households (81.4% of television subscribers) receive Fox News. Murdoch is the current executive chairman and Suzanne Scott is the CEO.”  It has long had a very congruent delivery approach and has long been the most popular cable news network, consistently beating CNN, MSNBC, and others. 

Still in the end, competition and disruption are always good for business and for customers. In spite of the huge number of conservative minded news consumers, the need for more players — and major ones at that — is significant. It appears that Newsmax is seriously trying to change the media landscape.

Share This:

Leave a Reply

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.