Newsmax, America’s number two-rated conservative news channel, has gone behind a paywall, and it’s all my fault. That’s facetious, but there’s a lot of virtual “truth” here. So many viewers deserted Fox News after the 2020 election (not dismayed enough at President Trump’s loss), that cable companies who pay to have channels in their line-ups told Newsmax they’d have to stop providing free access to their product.
Most of the defections from Fox went over to Newsmax. With so many Smart TV choices available, including paid streamers and commercial-free YouTube, many of those defectors cut the cord. Why would conglomerate cable companies pay a channel that was causing millions of cable subscribers to drop their subscriptions?
After watching Fox News for 20 years, I was one of the 2020 defectors. On that disastrous election night three years ago, the Fox anchors were laughing and schmoozing as if they were covering the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I experienced the election of a debilitated Biden and his far-left puppet-masters as a calamity, and was hardly alone. Subsequently, I became aware that the former home of Bill O’Reilly had begun a discernable move away from the man I considered our best president since Ronald Reagan. Trading Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Greta Van Susteren for Greg Kelly, Rob Schmitt, and--hey, it’s Greta Van Susteren--I never looked back.
Although there’s almost nothing to watch on broadcast cable, and my Smart TV became the go-to, I kept my Xfinity service for the sole purpose of having major-channel sports available.
When Fox let Tucker Carlson go the exodus to Newsmax accelerated. In response, the cable providers cut the cord on free Newsmax; it now costs either $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year to watch the newly dubbed Newsmax+. There’s still a free Newsmax iteration where the star-studded line-up used to be. Last time I looked there was a straight news show hosted by FNC alumni Ed Henry, Balance of Nature commercials, and a documentary about Princess Diana.
Comment forums are full of griping about the Newsmax move, with many saying goodbye to Kelly and company. Some say the move behind a paywall won’t work, and that the channel will either fail, or go back to being available for free. As we move into the election year, and having grown fond of the unapologetically pro-Trump channel, I’ll probably sign on, at least for a year. As soon as one of my kids comes over and shows me how to do so.