Newsmax is a cable news and digital publication founded in 1998 by American journalist Christopher Ruddy. Ruddy remains the owner, CEO, and editor of Newsmax and has positioned the network as conservative competition for Fox News. With an average of under 30 million website views each month in comparison to the average of over 300 million on Fox News’ website, Newsmax has a long way to go before becoming genuine competition with Fox News. Newsmax’s online articles can be found at www.newsmax.com while its TV broadcasts can also be found at www.newsmaxtv.com.
Note: The bias ratings and analyses provided in this blog post focus on the Newsmax website and not its TV or radio programming unless mentioned explicitly.
How Does Biasly Rate News Sources?
Biasly’s algorithms produce bias ratings to help provide multiple perspectives on given articles. Biasly has analyzed 200,000+ news articles from more than 3,200 news sources through our A.I. technology and team of political analysts to find the most factual, unbiased news stories.
Biasly determines the degree of political bias in news sources by using Biasly’s Bias Meter Rating, in which Biasly’s team analyzes media sources’ reliability and bias and produces three scores, a Reliability Score that measures the accuracy of media sources; an A.I. Bias Score, evaluated by A.I.; and an Analyst Bias Score evaluated by political analysts. These scores are rated based on seven rating metrics including Tone, Tendency, Diction, Author Check, Selection/Omission, Expediency Bias, and Accuracy. These metrics help our analysts to determine the political attitude of the article.
Our A.I. machine-learning system employs natural language processing and entity-specific sentiment analysis to examine individual articles and determine their bias levels. By analyzing the key terms in an article such as policies, bias phrases, political terminologies, politicians, and their nicknames, the algorithms can rate the attitude of the text. Bias scores range from -100% and 100%, with higher negative scores being more liberal and higher positive scores being more conservative, and 0% being neutral.
Is Newsmax Politically Biased?
Newsmax is often described as anything from conservative to right-wing to far-right, but how accurate is this description? Is Newsmax really as biased as it is often described?
On Biasly’s media bias rating, Newsmax received an A.I. Bias Score of positive 70% which categorizes the publication as Very Conservative. On the other hand, the Analyst Bias Score for Newsmax is positive 31%, making it Moderately Conservative. In both evaluations, Newsmax is rated as conservatively biased because of positive sentiments toward conservative and Republican policies and beliefs while displaying an aversion to liberal and Democratic policies. However, it is worth mentioning that this only takes into account Newsmax’s online articles and their magazine and TV station might display slightly different biases.
When cross-checking Newsmax with other third-party bias research agencies such as Allsides and Media Bias/Fact Check, we can see that there is a consensus that Newsmax carries significant Conservative bias in its reporting. Allsides reports Newsmax as right, meaning they align firmly with conservative or right-wing policies. Similarly, Media Bias/Fact Check classifies Newsmax as right on the extreme end of their scale, as well as referring to the publication as a “questionable source,” due to extreme bias and promotion of conspiracy theories and pseudoscience.
While Newsmax remains a fairly small company in comparison to the media giant of Fox News, it has grown rapidly in recent years, especially in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. Despite its quick growth, Newsmax has still struggled to compete with Fox News as a conservative news source.
Source: Pew Research
Before we begin, we need to discuss bias. Bias is a natural function of humans, and we can express it both consciously and unconsciously. Bias is one of the most fundamental forms of pattern recognition in humans. This isn’t to lower the bar and say that “all things are biased,” but to explain the process in which we may come to trust certain news organizations that display patterns of coverage.
Before we examine examples of Newsmax’s online articles and TV programs, it is worth mentioning that all news media has an interest in keeping their audiences engaged, meaning catering to an audience’s bias is profitable.
Analysis of Newsmax Online Articles
While Newsmax is not an insignificant force in American news media, Newsmax.com received 26.6 million views in March of 2023, it has yet to be able to seriously compete with its intended competition of Fox News. To get a better understanding of Newsmax’s bias let’s examine an online article from their website titled “Scalise: ‘Tough’ Joe Manchin Can Handle Dems’ Backlash.”
Biasly’s breakdown of this article rated both its bias and policy leaning at 52% Very Conservative. Its portrayal of politicians is rated 68% negative due to four negative sentiments towards Joe Biden. However, the article also included three positive sentiments towards Joe Biden which brought the otherwise very negative politician portrayal down a bit.
The title of the article alone implies some conservative bias with its mention of Democrat’s “backlash” against Joe Manchin, who is widely considered the most conservative senator in the Democratic Party.
The author of this article has also written many articles which lean conservative for Newsmax as well as other transparently conservative sites such as Conservative Angle and Free Republic. While the author’s various other articles don’t necessarily impact the article we are examining, it is worth noting when an author’s past articles clearly favor one side. Throughout this article, the author includes strong language against the Green New Deal, a prominent Democrat policy, and Joe Biden, further establishing this article’s conservative leanings.
As we have seen, the article Scalise: ‘Tough’ Joe Manchin Can Handle Dems’ Backlash certainly fits the bill for being Very Conservative as described by Biasly’s A.I. bias rating. Among the Newsmax article rated by Biasly, this article falls somewhere in the middle in terms of its conservative bias as many other Newsmax articles are scored as Moderately, Very, or Extremely Conservative.
How Biased is Newsmax’s Opinion Section?
Like the opinion section of any news media website, Newsmax’s opinion pieces are essentially all biased as they aren’t simply reporting the news, opinion pieces are intended to persuade readers of the author’s viewpoint on a particular topic.
However, while Newsmax does include opinion pieces from a wide variety of authors, the authors featured are, with very few exceptions, conservatives or at the very least on the Right of politics. Included on Newsmax’s opinions page is a section entitled “Most Famous Insiders,” which lists famous conservative politician and journalist Patrick Buchanan and Michael Reagan, the son of Ronald Reagan, as their top contributors of opinion pieces. Newsmax’s opinion pieces also make no attempt to hide their conservative bias with titles such as “Biden Has ‘Blessed’ Us With a Much More Dangerous World,” and “GOP ’24 Win Would End Biden-era Abuse of Power.”
Although Newsmax’s opinion pieces are biased toward the conservative side of politics, that isn’t necessarily an issue when it comes to opinion pieces. As long as readers understand that opinion pieces are intentionally biased as they are, as the name suggests, the opinions of the author, readers should have no issue with examining opinion pieces critically.
Who Owns Newsmax?
Since its founding in 1998, Newsmax has been owned by its creator Christopher Ruddy. Ruddy is also the CEO of Newsmax’s parent company Newsmax Media, INC. Interestingly, Ruddy himself is personal friends with both former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump and has even praised Joe Biden’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, hinting that his own political views may be more pragmatic than one might assume from the biases in Newsmax’s reporting.
Ruddy describes himself as a libertarian conservative, although he is not a registered member of the Republican Party and has even criticized the party at times. Ruddy has also stated that Newsmax is intended to be a conservative rival to Fox News.
It is also worth mentioning that Ruddy is himself a journalist, previously working for the New York Post and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and still writes for Newsmax. In addition, Ruddy is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Financial Publishers Association.
How to Evaluate and Uncover Bias
It can often be difficult to tell if the news you watch is biased. If you have settled on a news channel, it’s usually because you trust the information you are gaining. Unfortunately, many trust the information they are hearing because it confirms what they already believe. This is referred to as “confirmation bias.” It is important to challenge your beliefs and get third-party verification that what you are hearing is the full story. This is why we recommend using Biasly to compare different news stories side-by-side using our bias ratings to figure out what both sides think of a political issue.
Although Biasly’s analysis found Newsmax to be Very Conservative at 70%, this can certainly vary from article to article. Because other third-party research agencies rated Newsmax very similarly as Conservative, Newsmax can confidently be said to be a very conservatively biased news publication. While Newsmax is certainly conservatively biased, it is always worth examining any particular article to see how biased it really is using Biasly.com News Bias Checker.