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Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Newsmax Less Enthusiastic About Second GOP Debate, But Still Brings Pro-Trump Spin
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax was less excited over the second Republican presidential debate than it was over the first one, in which it heavily hyped Donald Trump despite his refusal to take part and sniped at certain unfavored candidates, like Vivek Ramaswamy, who refused Newsmax's quid pro quo of getting positive coverage in exchange for buying ads on the channel (the deal it gave to Perry Johnson). It was largely a rehash of the first, with Trump again refusing to take part and the others fighting to get attention. A Sept. 18 wire article noted Trump skipping the debate for a photo op with striking auto workers in Michigan. Other pre-debate positioning was noted as well:

Newsmax also took a shot at the competition with a Sept. 27 article by Michael Katz claiming that "A 30-second spot for the second debate in Simi Valley, California, on Fox Business cost just above $200,000, a huge decline from the $495,000 charged for the similar spot during the first debate Aug. 23 in Milwaukee."

Post-debate coverage began with a Sept. 27 article by the apparently unironically named Charlie McCarthy that was surprisingly balanced, admitting that some candidates "criticized former President Donald Trump for again skipping the debate." That was joined by a wire article doing much the same thing. The next day, John Gizzi dismissed the debate:

None of the Republican presidential hopefuls on stage at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California on Wednesday night gained any significant ground in the second GOP debate of 2023-24.

That was the general conclusion of a group of political experts with whom Newsmax spoke shortly after the two-hour debate concluded. Among them was Arizona State University Prof. Donald Critchlow, founding editor of the Journal of Political History.

"The debate stage was overcrowded. The [Fox News] panel was not in control of candidates talking over one another and interrupting," he said.


Critchlow's conclusion was echoed by Chapman University (CA) Prof. Luke Nichter, who told Newsmax, "In the three acts of a Greek tragedy, in Act II, the plot gets more complicated. That's where we are tonight."

Nichter, author of the critically acclaimed new book "1968: The Year That Broke Politics," concluded that "no one did anything so remarkable as to close the big gap with [former President Donald] Trump."

Jim Thomas took another shot at Fox over the debate's ratings:

Fox’s second Republican primary debate had the lowest TV audience for any GOP presidential debate since Donald Trump's debut appearance in 2015, NBC reported Thursday.

Nielsen ratings topped out at a little more than 9 million viewers for Wednesday's Fox debate, held at the Reagan Library. That was down 3.5 million viewers from last month's event, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

Josh Hammer spent his Sept. 29 column complaning that the candidates were not sufficiently  Reagan-esque despite the debate being held at the Reagan library. Michael Dorstewitz used his column the same day to hype Ron DeSantis declaring that he "is turning out to be the strong, steady hand America needs at the helm. If we can only find a way to get former President Trump to meet him on a debate stage." There were also the usual attempts to spin things:

And it wouldn't be a Trump-adjacent event without Trump sycophant Dick Morris weighing in, which he did in a Sept. 30 TV appearance:

The second presidential debate not only affirmed former President Donald Trump as a runaway in the GOP primary race, but Trump was fully vindicated on skipping the debate "food fight," even as his top challengers are calling him out, presidential adviser Dick Morris told Newsmax.

"Yeah," Morris told "Saturday Report," Trump was "incredibly" vindicated on skipping the debate.

"First of all, the fact he's ahead going in and people really believe in him; his support has firmed to an unbelievable degree," Morris told host Rita Cosby. "But secondly, when you look at the food fight, the circus that went on and that rink, how can you possibly support one of those people? And Trump was so wise stepping out of it and not letting himself be dragged into it."

Morris also repeated his own insistence that Robert Kennedy running as an independent instead of a Democrat wold pull votes from Biden but not Trump, declaring without evidence that Krnnedy's "appeal is very much on the Democratic side."

Posted by Terry K. at 7:43 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 13, 2023 10:53 PM EST

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