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Newsmax: 'Equal Time' ... With a Cast

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Newsmax TV is where a lot of conservatives are going to find 24/7 support and validation of their viewpoints. And why not? Ideologically partisan programming rules the airwaves. The “legacy” media killed off any semblance of “objectivity” or “balance” a long time ago. The entire concept of objective journalism, at least as packaged for public consumption on the cables and other political media, has become anachronistic.

Rush Limbaugh rose into the breach of leftist bias claiming, “I don’t give equal time; I am equal time.” Fox News Channel reached the top promising to be “fair and balanced,” which only meant that true conservatives were finally given a place at the policy and position debate table, a place they’d been denied by the alphabet networks for decades.

FNC also included liberal voices in the debate. People like Richard Fowler, Juan Williams,  Richard Goodstein, and Tucker Carlson’s “liberal Sherpa” Cathy Areu, who forever discredited herself with a frivolous lawsuit filed against Carlson after Carlson put her on the map. And who can forget the ultimate foray into bipartisan sparring, Hannity and Colmes?

At Newsmax, the overarching programming directive seems to be, “We don’t need no stinking liberals.” The most liberal take you’re likely to get is from somebody like Doug Schoen, a Democrat lawyer who always seems like he’s two vodka tonics and a Biden collapse away from becoming a centrist Independent. At Newsmax, Stacy Abrams is a loser and a liar, and Marjorie Taylor Greene is shown respect. Melania Trump is a woman to be revered. Vice President Kamala Harris is a dangerous Marxist harridan.

Newsmax is equal time, with a cast.

Primetime kicks off at 4 p.m. Pacific with Greg Kelly Reports. For long-time Fox News viewers, it’s hard not to contrast the Newsmax lineup against the familiar template of FNC. In this context, Greg Kelly holds the Bill O’Reilly slot. He’s personable, off-the-cuff, at times humorous, and polished. He pounded the election fraud drum right up until the Capitol riot, then backed off, like everybody else.

Everybody except Lou Dobbs, and everybody knows what happened to him.

Grant Stinchfield and his show Stinchfield is the Hannity of this primetime. Look up “staunch” in the dictionary and you might find his photo. Tasked with re-upping morale in the ranks after a bruising, horrific election, he claimed to have felt lousy for one whole day, after which he girded himself anew for the long fight ahead. Thanks, Grant, conservatism needed that.

Former Trump White House press secretary and Dancing with The Stars star Sean Spicer comes next with Spicer and Company. Fox viewers who never strayed might have wondered what happened to Sean after he donned that flouncy green shirt and tripped the light fantastic. It’s perennially amusing, and in retrospect, we thank him for that in these dark days. Spicer ably deflected the hilarity by offering a nice tribute to Supremes founder and vocalist Mary Wilson—whom he met on Stars–when she passed recently.

Spicer and Company has no real correlation to the epic FNC primetime, in that no Fox show ever featured male and female hosts, both conservative. Spicer’s at his best when he shows authentic concern with the awful places the Biden administration is taking the country. It’s a nice mix, with Spicer and co-host Lyndsay Keith plunging into the topics of the day. At times, Spicer seems a little stiff around the collar, and it becomes too obvious that he’s reading the prompter. It never looks like Greg Kelly is reading a prompter.

Quibble: Ms. Keith is a welcome distaff side for the show, and the primetime, though at times the syntax of her introductions and transitions seems a bit fractured.

Enter Rob Schmitt, and Rob Schmitt Tonight, a new arrival, over from Fox News, whose job it is to close out a night of solidly-packaged right-of-center programming. Schmitt’s style is easy-going; he doesn’t appear ruffled, even when the news is bad, which it mostly is. Tall, dark, and handsome, Schmitt strikes this older viewer like a cast member from Friends, if among Friends there had been one true, informed conservative.

The name recognition of Newsmax guests has improved as the network’s ratings have skyrocketed. Bigger-name analytical talent is appearing with each passing week. (Author’s note: Any chance one of these shows could get Larry the Cable Guy? Everybody knows that what is happening to America is madness and that 2022 is a long way off.  But we’ve got to keep our senses of humor.)

It goes without saying that the liberal media is going to hate on Newsmax TV, and even make noises about getting it booted off the air. That has about as much chance of happening as the chance that Joe Biden will someday cogently articulate what is contained in all the executive orders he’s signing.

What about journalistic observers and commentators who bemoan the death of balanced reportage and opinion, who lay the onus of tribalism on media that sets its sights on a certain audience and goes all-in to attract that audience, who worry about the Balkanization of information, and the prevalence of partisan spin?

As Larry the Cable Guy might say, that horse has left the barn, after eating a pail-full of bad oats.

With the poisonous disunity of the Left on full display and Democrats wielding the levers of power in the quest for a national transformation, there is zero generally agreed upon “balance.”

Like the poor, tribalist programming will always be with us. Popcorn anyone?

Mark Ellis is Associate Editor at the Northwest Connection, Portland, Oregon’s only conservative web/print publication. He is the author of the political thriller A Death on the Horizon.

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