Why these Fox News loyalists have changed the channel to Newsmax

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  flynavy1  •  3 weeks ago  •  62 comments

By:   Jeremy Barr (MSN)

Why these Fox News loyalists have changed the channel to Newsmax
The Post spoke with 15 avid cable news watchers who are part of a dramatic uptick in the upstart's audience in the weeks since the election.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



On the morning after Election Day, Greg and Jenny Brethen, loyal viewers of Fox News who watched the channel religiously for almost 20 years, turned on their go-to morning show, "Fox & Friends," and thought they saw something fishy.

© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post A screen shows a Newsmax video clip as President Trump speaks during a "victory rally" Saturday in Valdosta, Ga.

The Tennessee couple sensed that their favorite Fox personalities, weekday co-host Brian Kilmeade and weekend co-host Pete Hegseth, who appeared in a segment, were holding back. "Like they were both instructed to keep their mouth shut, that's how I felt," Jenny said.

The previous evening, the nonpartisan Fox News Decision Desk was the first network prognosticator to call the state of Arizona for Joe Biden, a call that to some was early — but ultimately held up. On Nov. 7, the network called the election for the former vice president, although Hegseth won't call him the president-elect and Kilmeade has qualified his presidency with an uncertain "if."

Whatever it was, Greg said the couple "felt duped." At that moment, they decided to stop watching Fox News forever and look for an alternative. After hearing about the conservative upstart Newsmax during a pro-Trump rally, they chose to give the channel a shot.

"We're permanently switched," Jenny, 46, said in a recent phone interview. "We're not going back. Once you do something like that, you're done in our book."

Jenny, who said she now watches Newsmax from the time she gets up to the time she goes to bed, was among the 15 longtime Fox News loyalists who spoke with The Post in depth about why they have flipped the channel to Newsmax in recent weeks and months.

Their stories lend texture to what has been a quantifiable shift in the number of people who watch Newsmax, a much-smaller, would-be competitor network that has seen a dramatic uptick in viewers in the weeks since the election by capitalizing on conservative frustration with Fox, and, some say, a desire from President Trump's fans to keep alive the flailing narrative that he will ultimately serve a second term, despite Biden's coming inauguration.

Although Trump has criticized Fox's news division and encouraged his followers to flip the channel to Newsmax or One America News, the majority of those interviewed, all Trump supporters, said they learned of Newsmax from word-of-mouth or from online research.

Newsmax issues sweeping 'clarification' debunking its own coverage of election misinformation

"I jumped on it and haven't looked back," said 40-year-old technical engineer Jeremy Arant, who was introduced to Newsmax by his friends after the election.

Newsmax stunned industry observers when host Greg Kelly's 7 p.m. show beat Fox's 7 p.m. show, hosted by anchor Martha MacCallum, among viewers between the age of 25 and 54 on Dec. 7 — though it has not repeated the feat. Still, comparing the month before the election and a post-election period, between Nov. 9 and Dec. 17, Kelly's show has experienced a 486 percent increase in viewership (up an average of 667,000 viewers), while McCallum's show has declined by 44 percent, or down an average of about 1.4 million total viewers, according to Nielsen data. McCallum's "The Story" program still has a big lead over "Greg Kelly Reports," however.

Comparing Newsmax's weekday performance between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. to Fox's, though, Newsmax has experienced a 497 percent viewership increase — during the post-election period, but excluding Thanksgiving — while Fox has experienced a 38 percent decline. (In the most recently measurable week, however, Newsmax was down from its post-election ratings highs in mid-November.)

While Fox called the election for Biden shortly after the rest of the mainstream media did so, Newsmax waited 37 additional days, only adopting the president-elect moniker after the electoral college confirmed his victory on Dec. 14. But Kelly, who has emerged as Newsmax's biggest star, a bomb-thrower in the mold of Fox News star Sean Hannity, doesn't agree with the decision. Kelly acknowledged that some of his colleagues have referred to Biden as president-elect, but said recently, "I personally feel they're wrong."

"The night of the election completely did it. I haven't turned on Fox News since," said Jami Salamida, 43, a paralegal who lives in West Virginia. She watched Fox for two decades and now said she watches between eight and 10 hours of Newsmax each day.

While Fox's coverage of the presidential election was a flash point for many of the network's defectors, for some it was merely the latest and most pivotal grievance they have had with the network's programming.

"The cherry on the cake was when they called the results of Arizona," said 60-year-old Donna Cumella, who works in IT in New York.

Several viewers expressed frustration with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace's performance as moderator of the first presidential debate between Trump and Biden on Sept. 29. "That was the big red flag," Greg Brethen said.

Sharon Allan, a retired dental hygienist who lives in Florida, said she sensed a leftward tilt in Fox's content starting in late September and early October. "It was like all of a sudden. A lot of my friends, we all started noticing it at the same time," she said. "It was a shift, like they had been bought out. They like were being told to only report certain things in a certain way. It was like, 'Wow, am I looking at Fox?' "

Allan, who doesn't believe that Biden won the election, called Fox's Arizona call "shocking."

Several of the Fox skeptics guessed that a change in the network's corporate management could have contributed to the shift they perceived, but many seemed confused about who is running the company and what, if anything, has changed. Six viewers who spoke with The Post mentioned a transfer of power to "the sons," whom they said were "liberal." One person said she heard that "the dad who owns it passed away," a reference to Rupert Murdoch, 89, who is alive and remains chairman of parent company Fox Corp.

While Murdoch's son, James, and daughter-in-law, Kathryn, have embraced liberal causes and politicians, including Biden, they have no control over Fox News. James ceased his role as chief executive of the network's then-parent company, 21st Century Fox, in March 2019, and almost completely cut his ties to his family's media dynasty by stepping down from the News Corp. board of directors this summer, citing in a letter "disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company's news outlets and certain other strategic decisions." And Murdoch's other son, Lachlan, who now runs Fox Corp., is not known to have liberal leanings.

For the viewers who have pivoted away from Fox, the one personality that many say they have a hard time totally quitting is prime-time host Tucker Carlson.

Their reasons vary. "I still like a little bit of Tucker because I think he's a smart guy," said 37-year-old Ricky Moxley, who works in industrial manufacturing in South Carolina.

"I will find myself allowing myself to watch Tucker because I think Tucker calls out what's going on," Salamida said. "That's my problem: with the people at Fox pretending that nothing is wrong" with the election process. (There is no evidence of widespread election fraud that would change the results of the election.) Allan, the retired dental hygienist, thinks Carlson should be president one day.

Lou Dobbs debunks his own claims of election fraud — after a legal demand from Smartmatic

But even the most devoted Newsmax converts say the channel's programming leaves something to be desired, particularly when compared with the glitz and polish of the massively profitable and high-budgeted Fox News.

"I don't think the programming is set up right," Salamida said. "They're basically just playing the same couple of shows all day long."

She "absolutely loves" Kelly and said, "When I watch his show, I honestly feel like I'm getting 100 percent of the truth from him." But, she added, "When I'm tired of watching the third repeat, it's really hard to not turn on Fox and see what they're doing."

"It's boring, a little bit, but I'm dedicated," said Michelle Walker, 52, who works in medical billing and lives in South Carolina. "I'll keep watching it until it gets better."

In particular, she likes and watches Newsmax hosts Grant Stinchfield and Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary, but thinks Kelly panders too much for her taste. "I'm a Trump supporter, but I don't want to hear how great my opinion is," she said.

Newsmax has been in the process of ramping up its programming. It recently expanded its morning show, "Wake Up America," by an hour, and added a 10 p.m. show from former Fox News anchor Rob Schmitt.

Chris Ruddy, who founded and runs Newsmax, told The Post that his network will be adding an original show at 9 p.m. each night, launching early next year. He described the concept as "a woman-centric show, something like [ABC's] 'The View' for women." He added, "We're looking at a number of personalities for that, but we haven't signed anyone for that. But we think we're close."

Asked about Newsmax's rise in the ratings, Ruddy said: "We have some really strong personalities that are very knowledgeable but also very affable and pleasant and I think they're really resonating. I think we're going to continue building out those personalities."

Perhaps more significant to Fox's longtime prospects, some of Newsmax's most passionate new watchers say they hope to influence the cable television wars. "My goal is to get everybody I know to quit watching Fox and to move to Newsmax," Walker said.

'This is the reality': Newsmax and One America grapple uneasily with Biden's electoral college victory

"I don't hate Fox News, but when I switched to Newsmax, I felt more appreciated for my viewership," said Nicholas Stanek, 31, who lives in Arizona and works as a roofing estimator. "Part of me just doesn't want to give Fox News the ratings."

Cindi Markham, 60, a pastor in Michigan, has taken an activist approach to getting her point across about Fox. "If boycotting them would hurt them in the sense of financially, maybe that's the only way we can get them to make a change," she said, adding she thinks the network invites on too much liberal opinion and has turned against the president.

Overall, Fox News's audience remains massive. The network finished 2020 as the most-watched network in all of basic cable, not just cable news, and trumpeted a 45 percent increase — compared with 2019 — in total viewership for its prime-time shows. (CNN enjoyed an 85 percent increase.)

And many of those who have switched the channel seem to be struggling with it. Wavering a bit. Getting through each day without the same cast of characters, they are feeling an absence.

"It is disappointing and it is depressing," said Walker, who used to watch Fox throughout the day. "It was almost like Fox was a part of my family."

"It's sad, because it's like losing a friend," said Jennie Spohn, 55, Markham's sister-in-law, who works in construction in Michigan. "We loved Fox News. We stood up for Fox News. We stood by their side."

And although Spohn digs Newsmax and watches upstart digital networks like Right Side Broadcasting Network, particularly to catch the president's political rallies, she said, almost mournfully, "I don't think there will ever be a love affair like we had with Fox News for years."


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FLYNAVY1
1  seeder  FLYNAVY1    3 weeks ago

Sharon Allan, a retired dental hygienist who lives in Florida, said she sensed a leftward tilt in Fox's content starting in late September and early October. "It was like all of a sudden. A lot of my friends, we all started noticing it at the same time," she said. "It was a shift, like they had been bought out. They like were being told to only report certain things in a certain way.

No Sharon.... That was truth attempting to penetrate the "Fox Bubble" of lies.

When you're wedded to one news outlet like many of these people are, it shouldn't be any wonder why facts and truth are so hard to come by from Trump supporters. 

 
 
 
evilgenius
1.1  evilgenius  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1    3 weeks ago
Jenny, who said she now watches Newsmax from the time she gets up to the time she goes to bed...

If this article isn't about confirmation bias, I don't know what is. This is one of the reasons we can point to modern technology making the partisan divide much, much more divided as people can now stay in a "news" bubble. It doesn't help the amount of opinion that goes out masquerading as "news" either.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
1.1.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  evilgenius @1.1    3 weeks ago
Jenny, who said she now watches Newsmax from the time she gets up to the time she goes to bed...

Jenny needs to seriously get a life.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago

Everyone who left Fox News because it is not far enough to the right should be isolated from the rest of society and declared a public menace. 

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
2.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  JohnRussell @2    3 weeks ago

How about we start with the reintroduction of critical thinking skills John.

 
 
 
evilgenius
2.2  evilgenius  replied to  JohnRussell @2    3 weeks ago
Everyone who left Fox News because it is not far enough to the right should be isolated from the rest of society and declared a public menace. 

John, your post is an example of how the far left sounds much like the far right in wanting all dissent squashed. I'd rather both sides leave their bubbles and reach out to each other and find common ground.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.2.1  JohnRussell  replied to  evilgenius @2.2    3 weeks ago

There were FAR TOO MANY people, including some here on Newstalkers, who wanted to "give Trump a chance". That says way less about Trump than it does about his supporters. 

Trump got 75 million votes. Of course not all those people are idiots. Some simply had inadequate criteria for judging a president.  There is one guy here on NT who is ok with having a dishonest, narcissistic, criminal , moron as president for four, then eight, years mainly because Trump lowered his taxes. Others are somewhat apathetic with the belief that it's only four, or eight years, and how much damage could even Trump do in such a "short" period of time. Many people supported Trump because he allegedly "owned" the libs, although I would question how much "owning" is done by someone who can't spell, incessantly mispronounces words, use childish nicknames, and constantly makes shit up.  At the first presidential debate with Biden this year, Trump gave what was widely considered the worst and most offensive performance ever given by a presidential candidate in a debate. Trump interrupted Biden something like 75 times, and the interruptions were almost always followed by a lie.  And yet, it doesnt seem that the debate cost Trump a single vote, even though many tens of millions of American voters watched that debate. 

I have pretty much given up hope or expectation that this country is ever going to actually come to grips with the effect Trump and his Trumpism has had on our people.  Because we are still in the middle of it and will be for the foreseeable future. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.2.2  JohnRussell  replied to  evilgenius @2.2    3 weeks ago
John, your post is an example of how the far left sounds much like the far right in wanting all dissent squashed. I'd rather both sides leave their bubbles and reach out to each other and find common ground.

First of all I am not far left. Second, I don't want to "reach out" to some Trump supporters, I want them to admit their mistake and change. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.2.4  JohnRussell  replied to    3 weeks ago

It doesnt matter who is or isnt in the middle. Trump was never for 5 seconds qualified or fit to be president of the United States. The whole thing is now and always has been absurd. 

 
 
 
Ozzwald
2.2.6  Ozzwald  replied to    3 weeks ago

Trump aside you are in no way middle of the road it is laughable to claim otherwise.

Before you can claim that MUVA you need to define:  far right, right, middle of the road, left and far left.

Unless you can provide a legitimate definition for those, any label you put on people is subjective only.

 
 
 
MAGA
2.3  MAGA  replied to  JohnRussell @2    3 weeks ago

You have some gulags and China styled re education camps waiting for us menacing people?  

 
 
 
Kavika
2.3.1  Kavika   replied to  MAGA @2.3    3 weeks ago
You have some gulags and China styled re education camps waiting for us menacing people?  

No, we have FEMA camps waiting for you.

 
 
 
Dragon
3  Dragon    3 weeks ago

I sometimes watch Fox, go to Breibart, Newsmax just to see what the right wing is saying. It is always the same, anyone, even staunch Republicans, who say anything against Trump are immediately called deep state, traitor, RINO. It is scary how cult like majority of Trump supporters are (I have a few in my family). 

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Dragon @3    3 weeks ago

I do the same for the same reasons.

And you are spot on with the cult/hive mindset of Trump supporters.  I've never seen anything like it.  And like you, I've got a couple in my family as well.  When I ask them where they get their news from, it is Fox, and Breitbart.  They won't even consider Reuters, or the BBC as sources.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.1.2  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to    3 weeks ago

Really MUVA.... Reuters and BBC are leftist?  Your continue to prove that in politics as in physics, all movement and position is relative.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.1.4  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to    3 weeks ago

As I'm not a leftist, nor is the the overwhelming majority of the electorate, I wouldn't know where leftists get their news from MUVA.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.1.6  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to    3 weeks ago

Isn't that special......

Coming from you that places me as a right of center moderate...... pretty much as I see myself.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.1.8  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to    3 weeks ago

Care to share any of those left wing policies I support just for the record..... Just so I know which ones piss you off.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1.10  Bob Nelson  replied to    3 weeks ago
the policies you have supported on this site point way left

That's pure nonsense. "Way left" would be things like social appropriation of the banking sector and Big Oil; free education; free health care...

There aren't many on NT who go so far.

"Way-right", though... racism, authoritarianism, xenophobia, ... Yeah. We have lots, here on NT.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.1.11  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to    3 weeks ago

So as usual you can't backup your claims....

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.1.13  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to    3 weeks ago

I voted against Trump.....!

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.1.15  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to    3 weeks ago

No such initiative on the ballot MUVA.....

Did you vote for authoritarian takeover of the government by ignoring the constitution?

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.1.17  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to    3 weeks ago

And a vote for Trump was a vote against the rule of law, and that which supports our entire constitution..... freedom of the vote. 

Hell yes I voted against greed and authoritarianism.....  Why did you chose to vote against America?

 
 
 
Tessylo
3.1.18  Tessylo  replied to    3 weeks ago

You don't back up your claims because you CANNOT back them up.  

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
3.1.19  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Tessylo @3.1.18    3 weeks ago

You would have a better chance of unbending a pretzel than getting backups.

 
 
 
evilgenius
3.2  evilgenius  replied to  Dragon @3    3 weeks ago

I try to find and read objective news and not political spin. It can be difficult at times especially when it comes to political topics. I too have Trump supporters in my family. We don't discuss politics in our family.

 
 
 
Dragon
3.2.1  Dragon  replied to  evilgenius @3.2    3 weeks ago

Politics and religion are off limits in our family. 

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
3.2.2  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Dragon @3.2.1    3 weeks ago

My cats are my family.  I was goofing on my one cat one day and asked who she would vote for.  Just then she farted which I think was her answer.  I guess Trump supporters come in all sizes, shapes, and biological forms.  We haven't spoken on the subject since.

 
 
 
TᵢG
3.3  TᵢG  replied to  Dragon @3    3 weeks ago
It is always the same, anyone, even staunch Republicans, who say anything against Trump are immediately called deep state, traitor, RINO.

I had a 'discussion' a couple weeks back with what turned out to be a true Trump believer.   I had just met this person.   His 'argument' consisted of the same talking points we see here on NT.   He believes the election was stolen and cited as 'evidence' the bullshit Trump proposed in his 'most important speech'.   The end of our 'discussion' came close to him throwing a punch at me as he screamed repeatedly in my face: "did Biden get more votes than Obama?".    ( His 'logic' was that Biden could not possibly do better than Obama and thus this is proof the election was rigged. )   The host, at this point, stepped in and escorted him out the door with apologies to me.

Happily I had seen all this crap before here on NT so nothing he said bothered me.    But my easy rebuttals sure pissed him off.   He was of course getting personal throughout (calling me a liberal, etc.) and grew increasingly angry as each claim was rebutted.

Just sharing this anecdote to emphasize that the positions of some here on NT could indeed be genuine.   This guy, IMO, absolutely believes that Biden stole this election.   He believes whatever Trump claims.   A sad state of affairs for our nation because clearly his position is shared by many others.

 
 
 
TᵢG
3.3.2  TᵢG  replied to    3 weeks ago

I believe that.   I have not met a Hillary true believer in person but I have no doubt millions of them exist.   Thing is, at this point in time given his post election craziness, Trump is now far more outrageous than Hillary ever was.  Thus it is difficult to imagine how even the most loyal Trump supporters are not shaking their collective heads in dismay.   What goes on in those minds is enigmatic.

 
 
 
Freewill
3.3.4  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @3.3.2    3 weeks ago
What goes on in those minds is enigmatic.

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Sonofabitch!  Churchill was right! It was Russia all along.... (-:

 
 
 
TᵢG
3.3.5  TᵢG  replied to    3 weeks ago

All reasonable fraud charges should be investigated.   What we have seen here by Trump, et.al. is to keep charging fraud at every turn with —at best— anecdotal ‘evidence’.  They have turned legit questions of voting irregularities into a joke.   

 
 
 
Tessylo
3.3.7  Tessylo  replied to    3 weeks ago

The only fraud perpetrated has been by the tRump criminal enterprise administration and all the baseless lawsuits because tRumpTurd is a whiny little bitch SORE LOSER!

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.3.8  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to    3 weeks ago
fraud has to be rooted out and punished with extreme long prison sentences.

And what of deliberate voter disenfranchisement.  Are you just as determined to eliminate that form of injustice against your fellow Americans?

 
 
 
Tessylo
3.3.9  Tessylo  replied to  TᵢG @3.3.2    3 weeks ago
"I believe that."

I don't.

 
 
 
Tessylo
3.3.12  Tessylo  replied to    3 weeks ago

I don't trust links from you or any tRump supporter.  Don't want malware or a virus.

 
 
 
TᵢG
3.3.14  TᵢG  replied to    3 weeks ago
The standard can't be there has to be enough fraud to change the outcome but every bit of fraud has to be rooted out and punished with extreme long prison sentences. 

Your standards are too low.   This leaves room for any bozo to make an allegation regardless of supporting evidence.   I certainly agree that if, say, it was found that voting machines were producing fraudulent ballots then absolutely investigate.    Or if it was found that a group of people deliberately committed fraud then certainly prosecute them.

But these witch hunts by the Trump gang were pathetic and a national disgrace.   Not to mention a grand waste of time and money.   Further, they gratuitously added even more divisiveness to the nation.

Those who do not condemn Trump for his post election actions are clearly, in my mind, true Trump believers and I see no way they can be thinking clearly ... just acting on emotion.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.3.15  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to    3 weeks ago

Consider yourself fortunate.....

  • Seventy percent of Georgia voters purged in 2018 were Black. 
  • Across the country, one in 13 Black Americans cannot vote due to disenfranchisement laws.
  • One-third of voters who have a disability report difficulty voting.
  • Only 40 percent of polling places fully accommodate people with disabilities. 
  • Across the country, counties with larger minority populations have fewer polling sites and poll workers per voter. 
  • Six in ten college students come from out of state in New Hampshire, the state trying to block residents with out of state drivers’ licenses.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
3.3.16  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @3.3.15    3 weeks ago
the state trying to block residents with out of state drivers’ licenses.

Blocking them from what exactly?  Several possibilities come to mind.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
4  Bob Nelson    3 weeks ago

These people are saying outright what we already knew: they do not want the news; they do want confirmation of what they already believe.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
4.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Bob Nelson @4    3 weeks ago

MUVA...... did you understand what Bob is saying?

 
 
 
Tessylo
4.1.1  Tessylo  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @4.1    3 weeks ago
"MUVA...... did you understand what Bob is saying?"

[Deleted - Not your question to answer.]

 
 
 
Kavika
5  Kavika     3 weeks ago

It seems that the New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch has changed direction from friendly to Trump to attacking him and the nut cases around him.

Rupert Has Had Enough’: NY Post’s Stunning Front Page Condemnation of Trump Sends Shockwaves

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
5.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Kavika @5    3 weeks ago

“If you insist on spending your final days in office threatening to burn it all down, that will be how you are remembered. Not as a revolutionary, but as the anarchist holding the match,” the board declared.

The NY Post no less......  I don't see anything less than a 2x4 being able to knock any sense into a Trump supporter.

 
 
 
Gsquared
6  Gsquared    3 weeks ago
Jenny, who said she now watches Newsmax from the time she gets up to the time she goes to bed

Someone doesn't have anything better to do.

"I still like a little bit of Tucker because I think he's a smart guy," said 37-year-old Ricky Moxley

Not so much.

"It's sad, because it's like losing a friend," said Jennie Spohn, 55

Maybe join a club, or try volunteering.  Make new friends.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
6.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Gsquared @6    3 weeks ago

My favorite was the person that wanted Tucker to run for the WH......

 
 
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