New York | Tens of thousands of supporters of Donald Trump are turning away from the conservative Fox News reference to take refuge in the small channels OAN and Newsmax, which still refuse to give Joe Biden the winner of the presidential election.
“The Democrats have prepared a coup against the President of the United States,” OAN presenter Christina Bobb assured Monday. “And Biden still lost!” (…) Trump is going to serve a new term ”.
“We did not declare Biden the winner because we think it is a very close election”, for his part, justifies to AFP, Chris Ruddy, creator and general manager of Newsmax, the another conservative American channel on the rise.
The speech hit home with supporters of Donald Trump disappointed by Fox News, who, according to them, made the mistake of formalizing the defeat of the outgoing president, or even of not having sufficiently supported him.
OAN president Charles Herring told AFP that his channel has been among the ten best audiences for American cable for several weeks, all programs combined.
Newsmax, meanwhile, broke the million-viewer mark for the first time in its history last week.
At the same time, Fox News has been repeatedly beaten by rival CNN since election night, a rarity, even though its audiences remain strong.
Donald Trump himself urged his supporters to turn to OAN and Newsmax, saying the “biggest difference” between the 2016 and 2020 polls was Fox News‘ positioning.
More and more prominent Republican personalities are accepting invitations on these two antennas, including the president himself, who has already given them interviews.
Soon Trump TV?
Professor of political science at Temple University, Kevin Arceneaux makes a distinction between Newsmax and OAN.
Newsmax is editorially closer to Fox News, he said. “They seem willing to take some liberties with the truth, but they have journalistic sense.”
Chris Ruddy says that once the results are certified and the Trump team’s appeals are purged, if Joe Biden is declared a winner, which hardly seems to be in doubt, “we think Trump will have to admit defeat.”
On the other hand, “I am not sure that I would classify OAN among the news channels”, says Kevin Arceneaux, even if it presents itself as such. He sees it as “a place for far-right conspiracy theories, a sounding board”.
“On purpose, (OAN) has created a completely alternate reality for conservatives who cannot accept that Trump has lost,” said Chris Pocock, former producer at the channel.
For Kevin Arceneaux, the problem is not so much the content of the channel as the fact that elected Republicans adhere to it, which gives legitimacy to OAN.
Therefore, the risk exists, according to him, of seeing the two big American parties “having completely different discussions on the basis of divergent facts. It is very difficult to imagine a healthy democracy in such a context ”.
“The key is to know if (the two channels) will be able to settle” in the audiovisual landscape, past the boost of the election, analyzes Jeffrey McCall, professor of communication at DePauw University. “It remains to be seen”.
Newsmax and OAN, who are few in the field today, will have to invest, warns Jeffrey McCall, facing Fox, with a budget of several hundred million dollars.
According to several American media, Chris Ruddy was recently approached by the investment company Hicks Equity Partners, close to the Republican Party, with a view to a possible takeover.
“There was no formal approach,” said the creator of Newsmax, himself close to the US president.
In the background, the desire of Donald Trump, mentioned several times, to own his own chain, by creating it or by buying an already existing organ.
“I would love to offer the president his own show,” comments Chris Ruddy, “but I wouldn’t want the channel to be named after him or based on him”.
Will Trump TV see the light of day? Citizen Media, a small company from Illinois has, in any case, already filed the name in June.