What Happened to Newsmax? Its Meteoric Rise (and Fall) Explained

During former president Donald Trump's term, Newsmax became a bastion of right-wing ideologies and overall Trump-ism, but what happened to it?

Chris Barilla - Author

Aug. 16 2021, Published 2:09 p.m. ET

Newsmax logo
Source: Newsmax

If you've kept up with political discourse in the U.S. over the last year or two at all, odds are that you've heard of networks such as Newsmax and OAN at one point or another. These right-leaning news channels became the go-to information hubs for supporters of former president Donald Trump and hyper-conservative ideologies as a whole.

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While their followings swelled during the latter half of the former president's term and grew to even greater proportions when questions surrounding the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election took hold in the nation, that momentum simply hasn't been maintained the same way into President Joe Biden's administration.

With that being said, what exactly happened to Newsmax that caused such a rapid decline in viewership? Here's what we know about the controversial source and its dealings.

Newsmax host Rob Schmitt
Source: Newsmax
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What happened to Newsmax? It faced steep declines in viewership within the last few months.

The calling of the state of Arizona early for President Biden in the 2020 election by Fox News was a pivotal moment in right-leaning journalism. Bastions of loyal Trump supporters, spurred by the former president's own constant reposting of Newsmax live feeds on his now-deleted Twitter account, switched over to the hyper-conservative Newsmax network and helped catapult its ratings — at one point even beating Fox's ratings in a key demographic for an hour, per Vox.

Despite the massive success the network enjoyed at that moment, they seemingly have not been able to keep that momentum up as the country moves further into President Biden's term as leader. This is most visible in its ratings, which are down more than 50 percent from January 2021. The network formerly commanded an average of about 300,000 viewers, but that has since shrunk to roughly 123,000 viewers as of Aug. 8, 2021.

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Thanks to this rating slump, Fox News has once again taken the reins as the most-watched right-wing network, steamrolling ahead as the number one cable news network overall.

This meteoric rise and fall might come as a surprise to some, but as Media Matters for America researcher and Newsmax-related expert Jason Campbell put it, the downfall of the network was inevitable.

Newsmax host Joe Pinion
Source: Newsmax
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In an interview with Vox, Jason explained why it was only a matter of time before viewers shifted away from Newsmax, and cited its repetitiveness as an issue.

"The issue that I always come back to ... is that Newsmax is just not good," he explained, adding, "It’s very dull, it’s very repetitive of conservative talking points I see everywhere else."

Jason also mentioned that its content relied heavily on pushing the narrative that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election, something that has been proven false time and time again by bipartisan sources.

"To steal a line from the movie Scarface, Newsmax had basically gotten high on its own supply, and their viewers were left holding nothing at the end of all that. I think that played a major role," he told the outlet.

Although Trump is still a supporter of Newsmax (and a major fixture of its programming), it seems as though conservative news viewers have returned to Fox News in droves. As Jason also noted, the network's reclaiming of the spotlight could also be attributed to the many programming and scheduling shifts done in the wake of Biden's election.

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