Exclusive: Interview with Newsmax, a fast-rising conservative American media owner

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After the 2020 United States presidential election, Republican incumbent President Donald Trump lost to Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, whom Trump has frequently accused of winning the election through fraud and deception. On Election Night, Biden was projected the winner in Arizona by Fox News, a conservative media outlet that has consistently supported Trump in the past. Since then, Trump and his supporters have decided to boycott Fox News and switch to other conservative media outlets. Newsmax is one option. Eat News secured an exclusive interview with Newsmax head Christopher Ruddy on January 15.

According to Newsmax, the new outlet’s ratings led ahead of Fox Business and CNBC in all critical day time periods between November 4 and November 6 of last year. Los Angeles Times reported that Newsmax has averaged around 326,000 viewers in prime time since the election. Also, A McLaughlin & Associates survey of voters conducted in November found that the new cable news channel had already snatched half the viewership of Fox News, who had long been the dominant cable news player. Ruddy told Eat News, “People generally believe Fox News was not giving fair coverage to President Trump. Newsmax has a terrific lineup of hosts and guests, and people liked what they saw on our channel.”

Ruddy is the CEO and majority owner of Newsmax Media. He graduated from St. John’s University, New York, and he earned a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the London School of Economics. Early in his career, Ruddy was editor in chief of a conservative monthly periodical known as the New York Guardian. In 1993, he joined the New York Post as an investigative reporter. After two years, he joined the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review as a national correspondent covering the Clinton White House.

Ruddy started Newsmax.com on September 16, 1998, supported by a group of investors, including the family of the late Central Intelligence Agency Director William J. Casey. Later, Richard Mellon Scaife, Ruddy’s former employer at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, invested in the fledgling company. Ruddy told Eat News, “In the 1990s, I saw that the media was very one-sided and biased to the left. I thought there was more need for diversity in media, so I started Newsmax.com.”

Photo: Christopher Ruddy/Twitter

Ruddy said, “our core values are the same as America’s: honesty, fairness and a belief in freedom. Newsmax describes itself as Center right, we have a conservative perspective on public policy, but we are open to opposing points of view and liberal ones.” When Eat News asked Ruddy how Newsmax Media differs from conservative media outlets like FOX News, One America News Network(OANN), and Breitbart News Network. He replied Newsmax isn’t pushing political agendas. “We offer a conservative perspective, but we are not right-wing. We have many liberal writers on our opinion columns, and we reach out for opposing views on our television shows.”

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Compared to FOX, CBS, NBC, CNN, ABC, and other television stations, where the owners are usually a major stakeholder at large corporations, Ruddy appears to be different, and he is one of the few media moguls whose career began as a journalists. Eat News asked Ruddy if he would interfere with the angle and direction of the journalists’ reports? He said, “I appreciate the fact every reporter is going to have a bias or a perspective. That’s fine, but I encourage all of our correspondence and writers to try to seek balance and get opposing points of view.”

During the 2020 US presidential election, President Trump began to promote Newsmax over its rival, Fox News. Trump’s preference for Newsmax over Fox News became clearer after the latter became the first news outlet to call Arizona for Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Since then, Newsmax TV has promoted a parade of conspiracy theories and false allegations of voter fraud and has pointedly refused to refer to Biden as the president-elect. A week after the election, Newsmax claims that Biden did not definitively win the presidency, and incumbent Donald Trump is quite close to having victory in the bag.

Photo: Christopher Ruddy/Twitter

Eat News asks Ruddy, “a large number of the election lawsuit filed by Trump’s has been dismissed in court, and the US Congress has certified the Electoral College results, do you still think Joe Biden is not the 46th president of the United States? How will Newsmax refer to Joe Biden in the future? The illegitimate President of the United States? or the unrecognized President of the United States?” Ruddy told us, “Newsmax reported on allegations made by the President, his supporters, and his attorneys of election fraud. We never concluded that the election was stolen or that Joe Biden was the illegitimate President.”

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“We called every state the President challenged for Biden as they were certified by the individual states. On December 14, the electoral college met and voted a majority for Joe Biden. After that, we always referred to him as a president-elect. Newsmax views Joe Biden as a legitimate President of the United States and will respect him as such”, Ruddy said.

For some Trump supporters who believe that media outlets other than Newsmax, OANN, and The Epoch Times are leftist or communist media, Ruddy argues that media in America is decidedly liberal. They have become even more so in recent years. Calling them communist is not justified.

Regarding the blocking of President Trump’s account by tech giants Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, prompting the rise of platforms such as Gab, Parler, and Lbry that claim not to censor content. Ruddy argued that the amount of open and deliberate censorship is both wrong and very scary for our freedoms. “If they can close down the Twitter account of the President of the United States, who will be safe?” As to who is qualified to check the truthfulness of the information, Ruddy believes, “a free press fact checks itself. We need no government monitors.”

According to data released by market research firm Statista on December 8, 2018, Google, the world’s largest portal, and Facebook, the social platform, accounted for 61% of global digital advertising revenue in 2017. As a digital media company, Newsmax only ventured into TV channels in 2014. Ruddy said, “Fortunately, Google doesn’t control the whole Internet, nor does Facebook. People can come directly to newsmax.com, and our television channel exists outside of Google and Facebook.”

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Ruddy continued, “Our television channel is available on every major cable system in the United States, but most importantly, we are also available for free on many OTT devices, including YouTube. People all over the world watch Newsmax simply by downloading our free app on their smartphone. We had over 4 million downloads for the Newsmax app since election day.”

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Fausto Chou is a Taiwanese journalist. He has been the executive editor of the Eat News since June, 2020. He previously worked for the Eastern Television (ETTV) and Formosa Television (FTV) as a journalist.

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Eat News is a Taiwanese digital media, analyzes current events and issues through column articles, videos, visual aid, and exclusive interviews.

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