It’s fascinating to watch when Newsmax TV makes Chris Wallace the face of what was formerly America’s most conservative cable channel. It’s not something they do every day, or even every week. But periodically, just when the upstart channel’s viewers may have forgotten Wallace’s egregious offenses, a segment about the Trump-averse Fox News Sunday anchor’s latest offense will splash across the screen.
It’s the guilt-by-association play in the counterprogramming playbook.
Just when Newsmax refugees from Fox might experience a hankering to know what’s on Hannity’s mind, or edify themselves with Tucker Carlson’s editorial lede, the Newsmax people will highlight—sometimes in an entire block–something awful that Chris Wallace said or did. At that point, goes the strategy, the Trump-aligned cable news consumer will mull it over and ultimately say to him or herself, “No, I just can’t go there.”
And there’s plenty of Wallace material to work with. Though he made a good show of grilling a hapless and unqualified Pete Buttigieg about national energy policy, Wallace always circles back to his hot-lights loathing of America’s greatest president since Reagan. Wallace probably agrees, at least in spirt, with Joe Biden’s statement that the January 6 capital protest and riot was the “biggest threat to democracy since the Civil War.”
That ridiculous calculation suggests that Hilter, China, Soviet Russia, 9/11, Big Tech, the Deep State, and Joe Biden himself are the second through eight-worst threats to democracy.
Making Wallace the face of FNC sends a clear signal to estranged fans of the channel that famously provided a strong (and only) alternative to the wildly partial leftist major media: you can’t go home again. It’s a managerial elite thing. Even though Fox is still home to staunch Trump supporters like Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Laura Ingraham, and Jessie Watters, the onus of the guiding hand of Rupert Murdoch’s Manhattan-liberal sons and the influence of board of directors member Paul “Open Borders” Ryan now overarches the Fox narrative. This globalist mentality is something Trump’s troops put on notice in 2016, and again in 2020, with an unmistakable counternarrative: America-last elites and Democratic Socialists must be stopped from selling out our national sovereignty. Wallace’s clear bias against Trump in the Fox presidential debate signaled “no deal” in the minds of many conservative cable watchers who miss President Donald Trump more and more with each passing day. Fox’s election night hijinks and adoption of a generic new tag line, “Standing Up for What’s Right,” didn’t help. There’s some big-league disagreement out there about what exactly is “right.”
It is important to acknowledge that FNC still rules the roost, regularly sweeping the weeks against Deep State Democratic Socialist programming on the mainstream cable channels. Fox News honchos have been quoted calling Newsmax “amateur hour,” and there are times on Newsmax where the smooth flow of information and analysis is interrupted by fractured syntax, muffed transitions, and problems with cued-up clips—the kind of programming glitches rarely seen on Fox.
Yet Chris Ruddy’s channel has come a long way from the days when pulling an average of around 60,000 viewers per day was the norm. Newsmax covers breaking news better, and has improved at getting field reporters on the ground at newsworthy ground zeros. The channel is attracting an increasingly impressive array of guests—though there’s no sign of Newt Gingrich yet.
Part of the challenge is that a significant proportion of cable news guests has published books they are inclined to promote in tandem with their analytical offerings, and another significant proportion is made up of prospective or elected officeholders looking for Red State support. If a Newsmax appearance means that an FNC invitation will not be forthcoming, you’ve got to go with the raw numbers, which are still in the Fox column. Hardball is a two-way street.
And so, the Wallace-ification of Fox News goes on.
Making Chris Wallace the face of Fox News is like making Maxine Waters the chairperson of a Biden administration “unity outreach” committee. It’s like making Governor Andrew Cuomo the face of nursing home protocols in the time of COVID. It’s like making Eric Swalwell the pitchman for Gas-X—a risky proposition that could backfire.
Making Chris Wallace the face of Fox News is like making a pedantic, flip-flopping, globalist mouthpiece the national authority on COVID guidelines—oh wait, that already happened.
No, but seriously, watching Newsmax TV cast a biased Trump basher like Wallace the face of the behemoth with the goal of cutting off a bigger slice of the cable pie is fascinating, and will be more so as politics heat up going into the 2022 midterm.
Forget the popcorn; what’s going to be needed are stiff drinks and a taste for battle.