Though not widely reported, Newsmax briefly took ownership of CNN yesterday in a moment that will go down in broadcast news history as one of the greatest media smackdowns of all time.
As readers of this site well know at this point, CNN’s media correspondents Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy have an unhealthy obsession with Fox News, Newsmax, OANN, and other news sources that don’t carry water for Democrats 24-7. Both Stelter and Darcy also easily rank in the top five in terms of members of the media most completely lacking in self-awareness.
That was never more apparent than a couple of days ago, when Stelter reached out to Newsmax for comment on the network’s post-Trump administration Nielsen ratings decline. Newsmax did not immediately respond to Stelter’s request, which did not deter him from writing about the issue anyway in his Wednesday night newsletter:
Newsmax TV gained a lot of attention last fall when disaffected Fox News fans flocked to the channel en masse. For the first time in Fox’s 24-year history, Fox had real and measurable 24/7 competition from the right. And that’s still true — but Newsmax’s Nielsen ratings are way off the post-election highs that I wrote about three and four months ago.
— What’s happened: Well it’s rather obvious, right? Newsmax is no longer getting a pro-Trump Big Lie ratings boost. Biden is a comparatively tame story. Trump is not tweeting or otherwise touting Newsmax’s brand. And some Fox fans have “come home” to Fox, as a network exec predicted they would.
Stelter also wrote a more in-depth piece on CNN’s website about Newsmax’s ratings decline, in what was a pretty clear attempt at piling on the network.
But though Newsmax did not respond directly to the “Reliable Sources” host’s request for comment in time for his newsletter, they turned the tables on him and did their own write-up about Stelter’s attempted dunk, and it was pretty darned epic:
As it turns out, Biden is also a very tame story for CNN as well, which has seen its own ratings collapse in recent weeks.
Early Wednesday morning Newsmax sent Stelter the following response: “Only CNN would do a story on Newsmax’s drop in ratings when its own Nielsen total day impressions fell by 45% last week compared to the week after the election, and Brian Stelter’s own ‘Reliable Sources’ show fell by 44% over the same period with, more recently, his show having lost nearly 1 million viewers since January of this year.”
CNN’s Stelter was contacted to comment on his network’s ratings decline, but did not offer comment.
— Tom Bevan (@TomBevanRCP) March 11, 2021
Newsmax then sought to correct the record on where they actually stood in the ratings, but also took a moment to point out that some of the decline they’d seen likely had to do with the efforts of networks like CNN to either throttle the traffic of or deplatform conservative news outlets like theirs that are direct competitors:
CNN and Stelter have been advocates of “deplatforming” the Newsmax channel, in a clear censorship effort to reduce competition, especially as their own ratings have fallen off a cliff.
They concluded by providing in-depth data on CNN’s decline, which you can read here.
CNN 'reporter' Brian Stelter reached out to Newsmax for a story about TV ratings: https://t.co/ZZoCwsDAsW
— Newsmax (@newsmax) March 11, 2021
This is not the first time Stelter has thrown shade at Newsmax with embarrassing results. Last month, he laughably tried lecturing the network on how to do journalism. It did not go well.