2. The race to out-Fox Fox
A new class of conservative outlets and networks is racing to capture the attention of disgruntled Trump voters, who feel abandoned by traditional news companies and censored by social media, Axios' Mike Allen and I write.
- Why it matters: Fox News, for years, has been criticized for polarizing coverage. Now, there’s a race unfolding among several conservative outlets who don’t think Fox is pro-Trump enough.
By the numbers: In the days after the election, conservative favorites like Breitbart, Drudge Report and Real Clear Politics began to lose traffic share to Newsmax and the Gateway Pundit, according to data from web analytics company SimilarWeb.
- Last week, Newsmax overtook Breitbart to become the most visited right-leaning news site.
- TV ratings for Newsmax have surged — marquee host Greg Kelly has recently drawn as many as 1 million viewers a night — as President Trump continues to urge followers to abandon Fox News.
Chris Ruddy — who founded Newsmax in 1998, and took his channel to cable in 2015 — tells Mike that a flood of defections followed Fox News' early decision to call Arizona (accurately) for Joe Biden, which infuriated Trump.
- "It felt like it was an earthquake on election night," Ruddy said in a 40-minute interview. "The walls have been breached."
Fox News has led cable ratings for nearly two decades, and continues to beat its cable rivals after the election, especially in prime time.
- Fox News sees its competition as the broadcast networks, with wins in prime time since Memorial Day.
- OANN has a tiny audience — hardly comparable to Newsmax, let alone Fox.
Between the lines: Fox News, as a successor to its "Democracy 2020" election branding, is now deploying the slogan "Standing Up For What's Right" in prime-time chyrons.
- The New York Post last week printed a cover last week with a triumphant picture of Joe Biden, alluding to his victory being official.
- The Wall Street Journal printed an op-ed last week saying "if defeat comes, [Trump] will serve himself and his country best by honoring America’s democratic traditions and leaving office with dignity."
The big picture: Tech platforms are facing a similar reckoning as Fox News, as conservatives flee Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter for less-regulated alternatives like Parler and Rumble.