Newsmax Media is a right-wing news network founded in 1998 by former New York Post reporter Christopher Ruddy. In addition to a website, it publishes a print magazine and operates a TV channel.
Once Fox News pulled back from its boundless applause of Trump after the 2020 election, Newsmax became his preferred news source—and “the Trumpiest channel on TV”—with the former president encouraging supporters to tune in to it instead of Fox. In January 2021, weekly viewership of Newsmax had grown to about 300,000, but it fell off dramatically once Trump left office.
January 6, 2021
- During the attack on the Capitol, Newsmax hosted former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who denied the mob was vandalizing the building and interrupting the congressional session even as it was happening. “They’re acting like it was an armed takeover of the Capitol, and that’s nonsense,” he said on air. “You had six to 10 people that got into the building. OK, deal with it.”
- That day, Newsmax correspondents reported as fact the false allegation that members of antifa and Black Lives Matter had infiltrated the crowd and were responsible for the violence.
- In a segment that aired on Feb. 8, 2021, Newsmax host Greg Kelly falsely claimed that only one person had died during the attack on the Capitol. “They’ve been lying about so much, including, by the way, that five people died on Jan. 6, 2021,” Kelly said. “It’s not true. Only one person died on that day.” In fact, four people died during the Capitol attack, and the next day, officer Brian Sicknick died of injuries sustained while defending congresspeople and others inside the building. In the months that followed, four more police officers present that day died by suicide.
- In the months following the insurrection, Newsmax repeatedly featured apologists for the attack and on the one-year anniversary of the insurrection, highlighted a new film called Day of Outrage. In the trailer, the narrator describes the breach of the Capitol on Jan. 6 as “a trespassing incident that got out of hand.”
The Big Lie
- Following the 2020 presidential election, Newsmax promoted Trump’s false claims of fraud. On Nov. 7, after the Pennsylvania results came in and most major news outlets called the race for Biden, Newsmax refused to recognize his win. “At this time, Newsmax is not calling Joe Biden the winner. The election remains very close and President Donald Trump continues to contest results in several states. All votes should be counted. The media should not make the determination of the winner under these circumstances.” The outlet refrained from referring to Biden as the president-elect until the Electoral College confirmed his win on Dec. 14, 2020.
- Even after acknowledging Biden’s electoral victory, Newsmax continued to feature Trump on air and to promote the Big Lie. In July 2021, Newsmax host Rob Carson said in reference to the election, “We’re beyond the ‘conspiracy theory’ nonsense. We all know, we’re not stupid, we know something happened.” The channel then aired more than two hours of Trump’s speech at a Turning Point USA event in Phoenix, Arizona.
- On Aug. 10, 2021, Dominion Voting Systems sued Newsmax and One America News (OAN) for having “knowingly and continuously sold the false story of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election with Dominion cast as the villain.”
- In response, Newsmax called the lawsuit “a clear attempt to… undermine a free press” and defended its coverage by saying that it “simply reported on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the President, his advisors and members of Congress.”
- Newsmax amplified the Big Lie by covering election audits and attempted audits in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, routinely quoting extremists without fact checking or attempting to substantiate or explain their claims.
- Newsmax regularly features misleading and false statements by politicians without providing context. In one article on its site, for example, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) heatedly contends: “When the truth about the election comes out from the Fulton County audit in my home state of Georgia, people will finally know what the big lie really means.” The story then adds: “Greene did not provide any details in her tweet”—and nor did Newsmax in its “reporting” of meaningless words.