Newsmax gave Tucker Carlson’s Jan. 6 revisionism nearly seven times more coverage than his own Fox colleagues

Greg Kelly

In theory, the right-wing cable network Newsmax competes with Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, while other Fox programs benefit from his success. But Newsmax has given Carlson’s use of security footage from the storming of the U.S. Capitol nearly seven times as much coverage as his Fox colleagues since it was revealed on February 20 that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had granted Carlson’s team exclusive access to the video trove. In fact, through Sunday, March 12, a single one-hour weekday Newsmax show has given Carlson’s story more attention than all of the rest of Fox combined.

Newsmax often tries to lure viewers away from Fox by attacking it from the right. In this case, it appears to be leveraging Carlson’s hero status among Trumpists – and even using his own network’s unwillingness to promote his shoddy work to suggest that Fox is being dishonest.

Carlson, a notorious January 6 conspiracy theorist, began airing cherry-picked clips from the more than 40,000 hours of security footage on his March 6 program. The Fox star, relying on a series of false claims and distortions, alleged that his investigation proved that the January 6 select committee, Democrats, and the press had lied to the public about the events. In reality, he claimed, only a “small percentage” of Trumpists at the Capitol had been “hooligans” who “committed vandalism,” while “the overwhelming majority” were “orderly and meek.” Carlson’s spin drew condemnations from U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger as well as Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  

Newsmax apparently believes that Carlson broke a major story, seeing as the network dedicated an eye-popping 3 hours 34 minutes of airtime to promoting the Fox star’s coverage. But while Carlson’s producers have urged other programs to promote it, his colleagues at Fox seem to have largely averted their eyes. Only six other Fox shows have touched Carlson’s January 6 reporting, for a total of 32 minutes of coverage.

Special Report, Fox’s flagship “news” program, provided the most coverage on the “news” side, offering something for everyone over roughly eight minutes of airtime. Its March 7 report questioning Carlson’s reporting drew mainstream press attention, particularly for anchor Bret Baier’s statement that “no one here at Fox News condones any of the violence that happened on January 6.” But the next night, Baier hosted his predecessor on the program, Fox chief political analyst Brit Hume, who argued that he doesn’t “think the evidence supports” describing the events of that day as an insurrection.

Fox host Maria Bartiromo provided the network’s only other “news” coverage, devoting less than two minutes to asking McCarthy if he had “regrets” about turning the footage over to Carlson and for his takeaways from the result. 

It may not be surprising that Carlson’s “news” colleagues are unwilling to carry his water given their apparent mutual loathing, as displayed through recently released filings in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation suit and media reports. But Carlson’s “opinion” colleagues also haven’t paid much attention to his January 6 stories.

Gutfeld!, Fox’s late-night “comedy” show, and prime time program The Ingraham Angle led the way, each with less than 10 minutes of coverage. On his Sunday morning program MediaBuzz, Howard Kurtz provided a roughly three minute segment which concluded with his declaration that both the violence that accompanied some 2020 protests following the police murder of George Floyd and the January 6 insurrection could best be described as riots. And prime time host Jesse Watters spent less than a minute on the story during his weekday evening broadcast. 

Major “opinion” shows like Hannity, The Five, and Fox & Friends all ignored Carlson’s January 6 work entirely.

Notably, while Carlson regularly appears on other Fox shows to promote his big stories, he did not do so for his January 6 footage reports. He did, however, make the rounds discussing the stories on right-wing radio and podcasts – including those hosted by former colleagues Glenn Beck and Clayton Morris.

In contrast to Fox’s fleeting interest in Carlson’s footage story, it drew coverage from at least 18 Newsmax shows, eight of which gave it more than 10 minutes of coverage. 

Greg Kelly Reports, Newsmax’s flagship show, provided the most promotion of any program, with more than 37 minutes of coverage – a total exceeding what all of Carlson’s Fox colleagues provided, combined. 

Kelly lauded Carlson’s effort and hammered Fox for not treating it as a big story. 

“Tonight we’re grateful for what Tucker Carlson did,” Kelly said during his March 7 broadcast, adding that Carlson’s work “blows up the Democrat narrative of that day.” 

After spending several minutes promoting Carlson’s findings, Kelly attacked Carlson’s colleagues for not giving the story sufficient attention. “Tucker's own network, Fox News, is ignoring probably the biggest story they've had in maybe 20 years, since a correspondent entered Baghdad with coalition troops.” He called out the hosts of Fox & Friends for having “no interest” and “ignoring the huge news that everybody at Fox is talking about,” adding, “What are they, jealous?”

Video file

Citation From the March 7, 2023, edition of Newsmax's Greg Kelly Reports.

The next night, after touting Carlson’s “ground-breaking, totally amazing information about what went down” on January 6, Kelly again targeted Carlson’s colleagues. “The January 6 allegations are amazing and important – and are only of interest to us? Nobody at Fox News is covering it,” he said, calling out the anchors of America’s Newsroom and the hosts of The Five

“You’re not being honest. It’s not the first time Fox has been dishonest with their viewers,” he added.

Other Newsmax programs picking up Carlson’s footage story include The Chris Salcedo Show (26 minutes), Wake Up America (25 minutes), John Bachman Now (20 minutes), Newsmax News In-Depth (14 minutes), Saturday Agenda (12 minutes), Wise Guy with John Tobacco (11 minutes), American Agenda (10 minutes), The Count (9 minutes), Huckabee (9 minutes), Wendy Bell Common Sense (9 minutes), Eric Bolling The Balance (8 minutes), Saturday Report (7 minutes), The Record with Greta Van Susteren (5 minutes), Rob Carson’s What in the World? (4 minutes), The Gorka Reality Check (4 minutes), The National Report (2 minutes), and Prime News (1 minute).