Newsmax Founder Chris Ruddy Ups Ante in War on Fox, Calls Network ‘Schizophrenic’ — After Saying He Doesn’t Want to be Trump TV
Newsmax founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy increased the stakes in his war on Fox News, calling the network “schizophrenic” in its coverage of the 2020 election.
“Cable news market is a $6 billion market,” Ruddy noted in a Tuesday interview with CNBC’s Joe Kernen. “Fox has had half of it. They have [had] no competition. We are the first. We have the distribution, now, to compete with them head on.
“Fox was very schizophrenic, Joe, in this previous election in its support and consistency about the president,” Ruddy added. “I think Newsmax was consistently supportive of the president. I think he was very disappointed — he has told me personally that he wasn’t happy with the Fox News coverage, and, you know, the election night where they called Arizona, but they wouldn’t call Florida, and a number of other things.”
Ruddy’s latest remarks are to some degree at odds with comments he made to Florida’s Sun Sentinel on Sunday, telling the publication, “We don’t want to be Trump TV. We want to be Newsmax.”
That contrast highlights the tightrope the network is seeking to balance during its ascension. Data from Nielsen Ratings has shown Newsmax on the rise in recent weeks, with daytime audiences of 200,000 to 330,000 viewers tuning in after the election — besting, at some points, Fox Business and CNBC. On the high end, primetime show Greg Kelly Reports hit 1.06 million viewers on Nov. 12.
Those figures, while dramatically on the rise, are still well short of the 2-3 million viewers who tune into Fox News Channel during the day. Additionally, Ruddy declined to deny that he was paying for distribution.
“I can’t disclose our affiliate agreements, and what our deal structure is,” he said in response to a question from Kernen on that topic.
Still, Newsmax’s success has been enough to reportedly spark interest in purchasing the network by Hicks Equity Partners, which is chaired by Trump ally Thomas Hicks.
Ruddy declined to say whether he had engaged in discussions to sell his network, but said the media was “reading into it a little too much,” adding, “Sometimes through the years we have had a lot of people approach us … to buy Newsmax, invest in Newsmax. These are oftentimes very informal discussions. They’re not formal, and I think, again, you know, the Hicks family, very respected, but we had no deal with them.”
He also insisted his network’s conservative credentials were stronger than those of Fox News.
“They won’t report on vote fraud,” Ruddy said. “Newsmax is talking about that. We don’t believe there’s a conspiracy, but we are talking about those issues, and I think the president should have the right to contest the election if it’s that close.”
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