CNN’s Don Lemon, who is no fan of Fox News, gave the network faint praise on Tuesday while largely dismissing any potential threat by rising conservative network Newsmax.
Lemon told Chris Cuomo during the handoff between their shows that by March things will moderate in cable news and that Newsmax will return to near-obscurity.
“Newsmax will be Newsmax, but it won’t be as powerful as Fox News,” Lemon said. “It will never be as powerful as Fox News.”
Cuomo got the conversation started when he mentioned that conservatives were now watching a channel that “you couldn’t even find on TV.” noting that they beat Fox News for a single hour on Monday in the key 25-54 demographic.
Lemon dismissed that win as unimportant in the larger scheme of things.
“Fox News — here’s the thing that we’ve been dealing with — the other cable networks have had competition, right?” Lemon said. “The competition for people who said that they’re non-biased, they’re in the middle, they’re independent. Fox News didn’t have any competition because Fox News is the only far-right conservative network. Now they have some competition. So the playing field in some way is leveling. But it will moderate.”
Lemon added that in the future Fox News will be a “shell of its former self,” but it will “still be very powerful.”
While Lemon, along with Cuomo, would love to see Fox News fall off its perch as the top cable news network, at least he understands that Newsmax’s recent surge is temporary as they are feeding off of election night anger from hardcore Trump supporters and not because it is actually capable of competing with Fox on a long term basis.
The ratings of all the major cable networks are likely to fall once Trump leaves office and that will put more pressure on MSNBC and CNN, which have benefited from attacks on Trump, than Fox News, which still has a very loyal base of viewers.