Right-wing media strive to change tone following US Capitol attack

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Right-wing media struggled to respond to their role by covering allegations that the presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump, after baseless accusations of massive electoral fraud fueled an attack on the U.S. Capitol last week .

In recent months, conservative pundits on networks ranging from Fox News and niche rivals like Newsmax to talk radio stations have peddled inaccurate allegations of electoral fraud that supported Mr. Trump’s mission to overthrow the government. presidential election results.

However, after a violent crowd passed the U.S. Capitol last week, some conservative media groups are moving away from the theory that Joe Biden only won the election because of massive voter fraud.

Cumulus Media, a major U.S. broadcaster that is home to popular right-wing figures such as Mark Levin, has ordered its on-air hosts to stop suggesting the election outcome is still in question.

“We need to help induce national calm NOW,” Cumulus vice president Brian Philips wrote in an internal memo last week, according to a Washington Post report. Cumulus did not respond to requests for comment.

Cable channel Newsmax has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of a split among Republican supporters, many of whom attribute to Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the election was mired in fraud.

Newsmax ratings soared in the days following the November election as an alternative to Fox News, after Trump loyalists raged at the Murdoch-owned network for calling an election in favor of Mr. Biden .

However, Chris Ruddy, founder of Newsmax, denied that his network helped perpetuate false allegations about the election, saying Mr. Biden was “the rightful president”.

“All of our hosts have accepted the election results,” Ruddy told the Financial Times on Monday, adding that “Newsmax has never been required to take any action Cumulus deems necessary.” He said Newsmax, as a network, declared Mr. Biden president-elect in December, after the electoral college votes were certified by the states.

But after weeks of cheerleading for Mr Trump and discontent over the election result, some Newsmax hosts are still struggling to let viewers know Mr Biden has won a free and fair competition.

Greg Kelly, a Newsmax host who grabbed viewers by battling Mr Biden’s victory, recently told his audience the election was corrupt.

“I believe that stole the thing with the help of Democratic agents and the mainstream media, ”he said on his prime-time show, Greg Kelly Reports. “I saw some of the evidence. . . it is simply impossible that he got more votes than any presidential candidate in history.

However, at Fox, even Trump loyalists seemed to hesitate. Tucker Carlson, who has repeatedly called the election “rigged” against Mr. Trump, said last week that the president was “recklessly encouraging” a protest that “had gotten out of hand.”

In a Thursday segment, Mr Carlson asked, “One president, someone, worth all this time and attention?”

As the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, CNN host Jake Tapper criticized the Murdoch family for their role in Trump’s rise. “If you are… The Murdochs, you must be wondering what am I doing? He said.” What have I unleashed? “

Fox News declined to comment.

Another Murdoch-owned outlet took a different approach. The Wall Street Journal last week called on Mr. Trump to resign in a bubbling editorial. “ refused to accept the basic market of democracy, which is to accept the result, win or lose, ”he wrote. “It’s better for everyone, including himself, if he goes away quietly.”

Marsh Notes

Following a historic 2020 election, stay on top of the biggest themes driving U.S. politics, business, and markets from Washington, New York and beyond with Rana Foroohar and Edward Luce. register here

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