Like the Media Research Center and its "news" division CNSNews.com, Newsmax labored to pretend that the first prime-time hearing from the House committee looking into the Capitol insurrection would not be newsworthy. The first order of business was to frame the fact that the committee hired a retired TV producer to help organize its coverage as proof the hearing was all style and no substance:
- TV Network Executive Producing Jan. 6 Panel's Prime-Time Hearing
- Rubio Slams Dems for Using Taxpayer Money to Hire TV Producer for Jan. 6 Hearings
- Dershowitz to Newsmax: Hiring Producer Shows Jan. 6 Panel Partisanship
Newsmax then called on the usual right-wing voices to denounce the hearing; for instance, Republican Rep. Andy Biggs declared that the hearing "is a distraction from a disastrous domestic and international policy performance by this president."Columnist Michael Dorstewitz, meanwhile, ranted that the hearing "has nothing to do with fact-finding, and has everything to do with winning elections," huffing: "Democrats are using an arguably illegitimate committee to prevent a former president from reelection, to nationalize all future elections and possibly trash the Electoral College — the final two in violation of the Constitution. And they hired a TV expert to make it sound perfectly reasonable. It all sounds kinda insurrectiony."
On the day of the June 9 hearing, an article by the apparently uniroinically named Charlie McCarthy declared in its headline, "Watch Jan. 6 Hearing Live on Newsmax — Without the Spin!" But as McCarthy went on, it was all too clear there would be copious amount of spin in Newsmax's coverage:
Newsmax host Rob Schmitt will anchor Newsmax's live coverage beginning at 8 p.m. ET, and expected to end about 9:30 p.m.
Analysts are expected to include former acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, attorney for former President Trump Alina Habba and attorney Ameer Benno.
In a statement, Newsmax said, "This is an important news event and the reason Newsmax will carry it live, but it will also be important for us to make sure the public is aware of any and all partisan bias that results from the hearing."
Newsmax seems to be unaware of what the word "spin" means. Of course, McCarthy injected his own spin as well:
Reportedly, the purpose of the hearing is to blame then-President Donald Trump for the tragic events that unfolded that day.
The special House panel has defied all precedent, and was created by the majority without the approval or representation of the minority Republican caucus.
Republicans claim the prime-time event is political theater that is timed to influence voters as the November midterm elections approach.
Indeed, Newsmax's on-air coverage was filled with spin, as CNN documented:
Newsmax, Fox's right-wing rival, actually showed most of Cheney's remarks, but cut away for analysis from pro-Trump commentators. The network's banners also promoted Trump's talking points and, at times, Newsmax's own app.
When the video [of the Capitol being attacked] concluded, Newsmax's Rob Schmitt said, "we saw a lot worse in the summer of 2020, spurred on by comments from the other side of the aisle, that burned major cities in this country down. Where's the hearing on that? Well they don't have that hearing, because they don't care about your life, where you live."
Newsmax even gave Trump himself a platform to spin things in another pre-hearing article:
The Jan. 6, 2021, protests "represented the greatest movement in the history of our Country to Make America Great Again," former President Donald Trump said Thursday in a post mocking the House select committee investigating the attacks on the U.S. Capitol as the panel prepares to go public with its findings in prime-time Thursday.
"The 'Unselect Committee' didn't spend one minute studying the reason that people went to Washington, D.C., in massive numbers, far greater than the Fake News Media is willing to report, or that the Unselects are willing to even mention, because January 6th was not simply a protest, it represented the greatest movement in the history of our Country to Make America Great Again," Trump said in a post on his Truth Social platform.
"It was about an Election that was Rigged and Stolen, and a Country that was about to go to HELL..& look at our Country now!"
After the hearing was over, Newsmax cranked up the spin machine. An article by Eric Mack ranted that it was "demonstrably false" that Trump did not condemn the riot, as Cheney said,citing as evidence "a contemporary report on Trump's condemning the attack on the Capitol published by Newsmax on Jan. 6, which was headlined "Trump Urges Peace, Protesters to 'Go Home.'" Mack didn't mention that this video did not get posted until hours after the riot started, making it largely meaningless. Mack didn't mention how this contrasted with Trump's pre-hearing declaration that all this violence was "the greatest movement in the history of our Country to Make America Great Again."
While Newsmax did publish a straightforward Associated Press article on the hearing, it also trotted out the usual gang of pro-Trump right-wingers to denounce it, including a Trump lawyer and the widower of dead insurrectionist Ashi Babbitt:
- Alan Dershowitz to Newsmax: 'A Kangaroo Court,' 'Fixed Jury,' Ignore It All
- Aaron Babbitt to Newsmax: Jan. 6 Hearings 'Complete BS From the Left'
- Alina Habba to Newsmax: 'This Isn't a Soap Opera; This Is Our Country'
- Former Rep. Nunes: Jan. 6 Inquiry Should Center on Pelosi's 'Incompetence'
- RNC Chair McDaniel to Newsmax: Jan. 6 Hearing 'Lights, Camera, Distraction'
- Cheney Challenger Hageman to Newsmax: Hearings a Ploy to Block Trump
- Rep. Waltz to Newsmax: Americans Aren't Buying Jan. 6 Panel's Narrative
- Rep. Johnson to Newsmax: Jan. 6 Hearings Are Trump's 'Third Impeachment'
- Dershowitz: Jan. 6 Panel 'Doctored the Tape,' Edited Out Trump's Words
Newsmax let Trump spin the hearing afterwards as well, with McCarthy uncritically writing how he "blasted the House Jan. 6 select committee for its biased, 'negative' prime-time hearing on Thursday night."
Newsmax also tried to play games over ratings in an anonymously written June 10 article:
CBS, NBC, and ABC, which switched their regular prime-time programming to air the House Select Committee on Jan. 6's first public hearing Thursday evening, saw a huge ratings decline, according to Nielsen figures.
ABC, whose fall schedule normally includes Grey's Anatomy at 8 p.m., took in the largest haul of viewers with 4.8 million, while NBC and CBS carried 3.5 million and 3.3 million, respectively.
The three outlets typically average 18 million collectively during prime time, according to The Federalist.
As we noted when the MRC played this same game, the hearing drew more than 19 million viewers across all channels that aired it.