Trump-friendly networks Newsmax and OANN haven't conceded the election yet

David Knowles
·Editor
·5-min read

To hear President Trump’s new favorite media outlets tell it, the 2020 election is still not over.

Despite an almost unbroken series of losses in court for the Trump campaign in battleground states, and the certification of Joe Biden’s victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada, Newsmax, one of two right-wing alternatives to Fox News, reported Wednesday that the campaign would be allowed to present evidence of voter fraud in states that had already certified their election results.

“There’s some good news on the front for the Trump legal team in regards to hearings. There will be three states who hear the evidence that the legal team has,” Newsmax’s White House correspondent Emerald Robinson reported.

While Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani laid out a case Wednesday to a handful of Republican Pennsylvania lawmakers that has so far failed to convince judges to intervene in the election, that proceeding will not affect Tuesday’s certification of the results nor the selection of the state’s electors.

Also covering the hearing was One America News Network, another Trump-approved outlet that has promoted the Trump campaign’s claims of widespread voter fraud even though Giuliani, when given a chance by a federal judge, declined to characterize one of his lawsuits in the state as being about voter fraud.

Notably absent from the chorus of Trump-friendly media outlets claiming that the president could still pull out a victory was Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, who on Tuesday further infuriated Trump’s most ardent supporters by noting that the campaign’s legal strategy wasn’t paying dividends.

“Now, legal challenges continue in a number of states — serious questions about vote counting, poll watcher access are outstanding — but unless the legal situation changes in a dramatic and, frankly, an unlikely manner, Joe Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Ingraham said.

For many Newsmax and OANN viewers, Ingraham’s commentary amounted to fighting words, and the comment section of Fox News’ YouTube channel was packed with more than 30,000 angry messages from viewers, including one that read, “NO LAURA, WE THE PEOPLE WILL NOT CONCEDE!”

It was the second time in a week that a Fox News host faced a backlash from diehard Trump supporters. Last Thursday, Tucker Carlson had the temerity to request that Trump lawyer Sidney Powell present evidence for her conspiracy theory that deceased Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez had conspired with Democrats to rig the results.

Two days after Carlson’s segment, the Trump campaign cut ties with Powell.

For Newsmax and OANN, however, those episodes were simply more evidence that Fox News was seeking to undermine Trump. The network, after all, had been one of the first on election night to call the results in Arizona for Biden, which led Trump to yell at Fox owner Rupert Murdoch on a late-night phone call and to promote a mass migration away from the network.

Eager to increase its viewership, OANN began promoting itself as the “only network you can trust.”

With passions still running high from the election, Fox News began to show signs of strain. Viewership fell 32 percent during the network’s daytime programming in the two weeks following the election, according to Nielsen, while CNN and MSNBC posted gains over that same period.

Newsmax has also seen its audience jump, drawing more than a million viewers one night last week, in comparison to the 60,000 nightly viewers it regularly averaged prior to the election.

Ever attuned to television ratings, the president made sure to take repeated swipes at Fox and has, for months, continued to promote the two rival networks catering to his base.

On Wednesday, as Giuliani introduced “witnesses” in Pennsylvania who, not under oath, attempted to bolster the campaign’s theory that the election had been “stolen” from Trump, the president made sure to direct his Twitter followers their way.

Trump called in to the hearing, promptly thanked OANN for covering it live and then proceeded, without evidence, to claim he had won the election.

“This was an election we won easily,” Trump said. “We won it by a lot.”

The event was largely ignored by Fox News, while Newsmax covered the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

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