Fox News has recently fallen out of favor with fans who feel its coverage of the 2020 elections was unfair toward President Donald Trump, and that lack of support has shown up in the ratings. Now, the network just got some shocking news that could make matters even worse.
According to a Sunday report from the Wall Street Journal, a private equity firm is looking to make a major investment in one of Fox’s biggest competitors in conservative news.
Citing the Journal‘s report, The Hill characterized Hicks Equity Partners as a group with “connections to a co-chair of the Republican National Committee.” And reports indicate the RNC-tied firm has considered vying for a stake in Newsmax, a right-leaning digital media outlet that saw its ratings “skyrocket” in the days following the election, according to The Wrap.
Newsmax, for its part, has denied rumors of a deal. “Newsmax never had any deal with the Hicks group, and if it’s true they were using our name for the purposes of capital fundraising, that is wholly inappropriate,” spokesperson Chris Ruddy told The Hill.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa”
Whether or not a deal is in the works, Newsmax may be able to credit its recent rise in viewership to a sort of exodus from Fox. As John Nolte argued in a column for Breitbart, Fox earned the ire of Trump fans when it called the state of Arizona a win for Joe Biden much earlier than most other outlets, who didn’t make the determination until more than a week later.
Further controversy came when Fox host Neil Cavuto opted to cut away from a press conference being held by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany while she spoke about the possibility of voter fraud.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa — I just think we have to be very clear,” Cavuto told his audience, according to The Guardian. “She’s charging the other side as welcoming fraud and welcoming illegal voting. Unless she has more details to back that up, I can’t in good countenance continue to show you this.”
Fox, for its part, doesn’t seem worried about the developments. According to The Hill, Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a recent earnings call that his company has “thrived with competition.”
“And we have strong competition now,” Murdoch said. “I would say the only difference today versus some years ago, as our audience has grown and our reach has grown, we see our competition as no longer only cable news providers, but also as the traditional broadcast networks.”
He went on: “And, as you know, Fox News has been the number one network, including broadcast networks now, as I mentioned, through from Labor Day through to Election Day.”
Try as they may, however, it might be too late for Fox. Reports have suggested in recent days that Trump might be considering launching his own media company to compete with Fox, and the president hasn’t been shy in his criticisms of the network.
.@FoxNews daytime ratings have completely collapsed. Weekend daytime even WORSE. Very sad to watch this happen, but they forgot what made them successful, what got them there. They forgot the Golden Goose. The biggest difference between the 2016 Election, and 2020, was @FoxNews!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2020