Newsmax's Ruddy Spins Hard to Deflect Trump Scandals Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax editor Christopher Ruddy is a friend of Donald Trump's, and he's been riding Trump's coattails to build up his own prominence -- heck, he's even written a pro-Trump op-ed for the New York Times.
His own website, however, is where Ruddy spins the hardest for his friend. In his June 23 column, for instance, Ruddy tosses out a list of distracting pro-Trump bullet points such as "To repeat, no one has provided any evidence the Trump campaign worked with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton" and "Trump won the election fairly and squarely" and "Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, which was his prerogative." Ruddy ironically added that "The president is right to be worried about an investigation that was created with no evidence of a crime" -- apparently forgetting making accusations against President Clinton without evidence of a crime is how he built Newsmax 20 years ago.
Of course, that first bullet point became inoperative when is was revealed that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian operative who promised evidence to defeat Hillary Clinton. Thus, we have Ruddy's July 10 column, in which he insists the operative the campaign met with was just an "eccentric Russian lawyer" and that "There is nothing illegal or improper in a campaign talking to a foreign national about their election opponent." Ruddy then added: "I know Donald Trump. He would never collude with the Russians."
And Ruddy was off and spinning again, blaming Paul Ryan for serving up a "damaged bill of goods" in the form of the first House health care reform bill and that "Trump has been trying to fix Ryan's mess." The sycophancy then starts to turn a little embarassing:
There are dozens and dozens of examples where the President set the vision, picked smart and savvy people, and saw the mission accomplished.
In August, Newsmax Magazine will have a blockbuster cover story about the President’s efforts to radically clean up the Department of Veterans Affairs, keeping a campaign promise to do so.
In business Trump set a strong vision for his companies and his brand. He picked strong people to implement the vision. He constantly checked on results. If things didn’t work out, he made adjustments and sometimes fired people.
Using the same approach as president, Trump has done an amazing job in a short time.
The administration has fallen short in three areas: communications, personnel staffing and allowing Congress, particularly Speaker Ryan, to set the legislative agenda. All three areas are interconnected and will undermine the President’s future plans if not corrected.
But the President has shown an adroitness in addressing problems and overcoming obstacles.
It's also important to remember almost all new administrations have issues. Remember the first two years of the Clinton administration?
So much you hear about the President is media spin and myth, such as claims the president doesn't listen or he can't take criticism.
In my experience, he does and he can, then he acts and big things happen.
Written like a man who knows which side his bread is buttered on these days.
And Michelle Obama decided to bully school kids. She thought forcing teenagers to subsist on the same fare enjoyed by Eastern mystics would cure America's obesity problem.
In the future kids wouldn't be hungry due to incompetent parents. They would be hungry as a result of Michelle's One-Size-Fits-All menu mandate.
Thank God Michelle didn't choose clothing for her legacy. Kids attending government schools would look like Red Guards.
Michelle might be able to keep the menus running on time in the White House where she has the Secret Service to back her up, but in Deplorable America teenagers are much more obstinate.
The University of Vermont conducted a study of her menu in action and found food waste increased by 56 percent. Michelle even managed to turn formerly law-abiding children into salt pushers as flavor advocates sold take-out packets to an eager client base.
Michelle even managed to make biscuits taste bad, but what would you expect from a woman that demands diners eat grits without butter or brown sugar?
This is why if you passed by any school gullible enough to adopt her school lunch program you could see Michelle's legacy being tossed from school cafeteria trash cans into the dumpster.
Michelle's real legacy is utter contempt for the average American. Personally, I can get along without the hectoring presence of the First Drill Sergeant. I know what I'm buying in the grocery store without consulting the USDA hotline.
If Michelle's cuisine control causes local school boards to question the role of the feds in education, then she will have left a legacy I can actually support.
Newsmax gave Trump sycophant Ronald Kessler (whom it once again failed to identify as a former Newsmax employee) a platform on Newsmax TV to complain about the "dishonest" media coverage of President Trump, using a bizarre sematic argument to claim a Washington Post story was a "hoax":
"Last week, The Washington Post also ran a story saying . . . the FBI has determined that an aide close to Donald Trump is a person of interest in the Russian investigation. Anybody knows anything about the FBI knows they don't use that term at all in any investigation – certainly not counterintelligence, except for violent crime and kidnaping. It simply doesn't exist. They do not use that term.
"Apparently nobody at The Washington Post knows enough about the FBI to recognize that which obviously means that that story is a hoax. Someone made up the story. That is the Post."
The same day that Newsmax published the writeup on Kessler, it also published an article stating that "President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser, is under scrutiny by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the Russia probe." The next day, the Post reported that according to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Kushner tried to open up a secret communication backchannel between Russian officials and the Trump transition team.
Persona of interest? Under scrutiny? Semantics aside, a distinction without a difference. The Post is correct, and Kessler is wrong.
Kessler is rather odioiusly putting his loyalty to Trump before the facts -- a terrible, discrediting situation for someone who portrays himself as a fair and balanced journalist.
Newsmax's Hirsen Blames Venezuela Crisis On ... Hollywood? Topic: Newsmax
The headline of James Hirsen's April 24 Newsmax column reads, "Hollywood Inflames Crisis in Venezuela." Huh?
Hirsen rehashes the key right-wing trope about the situation in Venezuela these days -- namely, that it's a direct result of Hugo Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, being socialists. In fact, it has more to do with authoritarian behavior by Chavez and Maduro combined with mismanagement of both the country's oil industry and its economy as a whole.
And somehow "Hollywood" is responsible for that? Hirsen sort of backs off the headline's blanket indictment, instead targeting just a few people he doesn't like:
This is a country that is now being devoured by chaos. Looking back, though, liberal celebrities such as Sean Penn, Harry Belafonte, Jamie Foxx, Danny Glover, Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Oliver Stone, and Naomi Campbell supported Chavez while he ransacked the country, and/or they oftentimes lent their influence to assist his chosen replacement Maduro.
Some of the Hollywood glitterati actually traveled to Venezuela multiple times to aid Chavez’s socialist oppression. Penn acted as a surrogate for Chavez during the dictator’s campaigns. Moore praised the despot for redistributing oil company profits. And Campbell gave kudos to Chavez, even referring to him as a "rebel angel."
The Hollywood left continued its support for handpicked socialist successor Maduro, who doubled down on Chavez’s failing policies. Penn explicitly endorsed the new dictator Maduro, and Foxx appeared at a staged media event for Chavez’s replacement.
The Chavez-Maduro fans in Hollywood have been unusually quiet as news from Venezuela becomes increasingly grim.
It is time for the far-left in Hollywood to speak out against an ideology built on the greed and egos of power hungry elites, one fueled by the envy and resentment manipulatively induced in the poor and disenfranchised.
Notice that Hirsen uses "liberals," the "left" and the "far-left" interchangeably. Words mean things, but Hirsen doesn't seem to think so. Who, exactly, does Hirsen want to speak out?
It's also worth noting that Hirsen's sudden concern about "the greed and egos of power hungry elites" seem to have went AWOL when Donald Trump was running for president. Hirsen has repeatedlydefendedTrump in his column.
Newsmax's Hirsen Runs to Devin Nunes' Defense Topic: Newsmax
James Hirsen is ostenibly Newsmax's "media analyst," but he's also a pretty tight Trump toady. And he's upset when others are portrayed as such.
In his March 27 column, Hirsen complains about how Democrats are allegedly trying to "systematically disparaging, discrediting, and sometimes seeking to destroy, in a political sense" Republican Rep. Devin Nunes for his highly politicized handing on the House investigation of allegedly links between Russia and the Trump campaign. Hirsen parrots the right-wing spin that "officials in the Obama administration had wrongfully revealed and disseminated the identities of U.S. citizens" but doesn't actually prove it.
Hirsen then runs to Nunes' defense of perhaps the most indefensible thing Nunes has done, briefing President Trump on the investigation before even members of his own committee:
The critique of Nunes by the Democrats and their mainstream media allies focuses on the following:
1. Nuness disclosure having been made without first notifying committee Democrats.
2. Nuness having briefed the White House on the newly exposed evidence.
The House Intelligence Committee Chairman apologized to Democratic committee members for the apparent break with protocol of not notifying Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee (and his fellow committee members) before going public.
Nunes did not, however, apologize for providing the newly revealed evidence to the White House, nor was he obliged to do so.
Nunes said that the "unmasking" of names of individuals in the reports was a development "significant" enough to warrant his briefing the president as soon as possible.
The chairman told Fox News that he believed he had a "duty and obligation" to inform President Trump.
The headline on Hirsen's column, by the way, is "Nunes Briefed Trump Out of a Sense of Duty Only." Hirsen does not know that; he only knows what Nunes has claimed about it.
You'd think a media analyst would be smart enough not to solely take someone's word for something.
Michael Reagan Forgets Trump Is Also An Anti-Vaxxer Topic: Newsmax
Michael Reagan complains in his March 4 Newsmax column:
It’s significant that the more the left’s cultural Marxism permeates the nation, the more superstition, ideology, and paranoia take precedence over science.
And President Trump’s recent appointment of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as chairman of a new commission on vaccines certainly doesn’t help matters. Kennedy is a believer in the repeatedly disproved superstition that vaccines cause autism.
This damaging assertion, combined with gullible members of the media and the public, has caused vaccination rates of schoolchildren to fall in many areas.
While Reagan is correct on the efficacy of vaccines, he gets a couple of things wrong.
First, his attempt to blame the anti-vaxxer movement on "the left’s cultural Marxism" is ridiculous. It's more prevalent on the right than it has ever been on the left, as anti-vaccine fearmongering by WorldNetDaillyand the Media Research Center demonstrate.
Second, nowhere in his column does Reagan mention the highly relevant fact that Trump himself has pushed that very same repeatedly disproved superstition that vaccines cause autism.
We don't know if Reagan has ever criticized Trump for his anti-vaxxer stance -- we could find no example of such in a quick Google search. This column would have been an appropriate time to do so. but he didn't.
Trump Buddy Ruddy Plays Up The Palsy-Walsy Topic: Newsmax
If the head of a news organization was longtime friends with the president to the point where he's regularly hanging out with him and visiting the Oval Office, the right-wing media would be screaming bloody murder -- that is, if the president was a Democrat.
It is, however, perfectly fine with conservatives if one of their own media people has a cozy relationship with the president. Which brings us to Christopher Ruddy.
That's taken to the next level in a March 1 Newsmax article, which announced that "President Trump met with former ambassador Nancy Brinker and Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy at the Oval Office Wednesday afternoon," where they claimed to have discussed "initiatives for cancer research to find a cure for the disease." As it just so happens, according to the article's final paragraph, "Brinker also hosts a Newsmax TV interview program."
(The rest of us might know Brinker as the founder of breast cancer research fund-raising group Susan G. Komen for the Cure; she left the organization following a massive backlash against Komen's attempt to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.)
Over the weekend, following Trump's tweets making unsubstantiated allegations that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election, Ruddy opined on the issue in a March 5 column by effectively touting the access he has to Trump:
When I woke up Sunday, I thought the morning news shows would all be talking about the unusual, perhaps dangerous, decision of the Obama administration to wiretap the offices of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
I’ve been watching Chuck Todd’s “Meet the Press” as I write this. There is actually little talk about this unprecedented wire-tapping and even less worry over it.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, usually thoughtful, just told Chuck Todd he found it is “shocking” that Trump disclosed the wiretapping claim on Twitter.
But Friedman offered no shock that such a wiretap might have taken place!
I spoke with the President twice yesterday about the wiretap story. I haven’t seen him this pissed off in a long time. When I mentioned Obama “denials” about the wiretaps, he shot back: “This will be investigated, it will all come out. I will be proven right.”
The Washington Post reported that Ruddy's contacts with Trump occurred "on the golf course and later at dinner Saturday."
Ruddy then invoked a schizophrenic pro-Trump talking point: The Russians "outrageously interfered in the U.S. election," which is something "I take very seriously," but it "did not change the election result," and "the media is continually trying to create" the narrative that it did.
Ruddy huffed: "This week, President Trump gave a bold and inclusive speech to Congress. It won wide praise. The Democrats don’t want Trump to succeed. Hence, all the smokescreens." He apparently forgot that his organization spent the past eight years fueling smokescreens with the goal of keeping Obama from succeeding.
If a "liberal media" executive was touting the same kind of access to a Democratic president that Ruddy is with Trump, right-wingers would not be silent. Instead, he gets a pass.
Newsmax's Ruddy Chillin' With Trump -- And Michael Savage Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has longbeen a buddy of Donald Trump -- close enough to the president that they hang out together at Mar-a-Lago. Over the weekend, we got treated to how thte lovefest is continuing, courtesy of right-wing radio host Michael Savage:
Ruddy's on the left; Savage is second from right.
Savage is the paranoid conspiracy theorist who laughably claimed, among many other things, that President Obama was engaging in "genocide" against white people.
If Ruddy is trying to create more credibility for his website, being pictured with Savage is not the way to do it. Nor is spending so much time hanging with Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump Buddy Ruddy Walks Back His Criticism of Priebus Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy appeared on the Feb. 12 edition of CNN's "Reliable Sources" mostly to shill for his buddy Donald Trump and to tamp down suggestions that the president doesn't know what he's doing. Cathy Burke's Newsmax article on her boss' appearance sums his words up in its lead paragraph: "President Donald Trump's first weeks in office are showing him to be 'a stable, sensible world leader,' who trusts the American people will judge him on the 'results' of both his foreign and domestic policies."
The big news, however ,was Ruddy throwing Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, under the bus, apparently based on a conversation he had with Trump a couple days earlier:
I think there's a lot of weakness coming out of the chief of staff. I think Reince Priebus -- good guy, well intentioned, but he clearly doesn't know how the federal agencies work. He doesn't have a really good system -- hedoesn't know how the communications flow.
It’s my view that Reince is the problem. I think on paper Reince looked good as the chief of staff — and Donald trusted him — but it’s pretty clear the guy is in way over his head. He’s not knowledgeable of how federal agencies work, how the communications operations work. He botched this whole immigration rollout. This should’ve been a win for Donald, not two or three weeks of negative publicity.
That apparently didn't go over well. Ruddy's walkback began quickly, with a tweet declaring: "Reince just briefed me on new WH plans. Impressive! CNN today my personal view. Told him I have 'open mind' based on his results." At Newsmax, Ruddy's walkback is bizarrely framed as a scoop in an unbylined article:
Senior White House sources have told Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy that President Trump has full confidence in Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and the job he is doing.
"I’m hearing from a number of senior people today that President Trump very much likes the job Reince Priebus is doing and has no intention of replacing him," Ruddy told Newsmax.
Ruddy's comments come after a CNN appearance Sunday on Brian Stelter's "Reliable Sources" when he defended the Trump administration from media attacks, but chided Priebus for White House messaging fumbles during the opening days of the administration.
Ruddy made clear to CNN and other press outlets his views were his own and were not based on any conversation with the president.
The Post's Chris Cillizza questions this: "Those quotes — on the record no less! — come 48 hours after Ruddy had drinks with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. It's sort of hard to imagine Ruddy didn't (a) run Priebus down even more in private and (b) let Trump know he was going to tell people about it."
Cillizza goes on to note that Trump's treatment of his senior staff -- an atmosphere in which his chief of staff is thrown under the bus by a Trump friend on TV -- is highly unusual.
Then again, the elevation of his friend to the presidency has made Ruddy something of a power broker. Another Post article touts the "newfound access" conservative outlets are getting in the Trump White House, with the chief example being Newsmax Washington bureau chief John Gizzi: "press secretary Sean Spicer has picked him out several times from among the jostling mob of journalists seeking to question the administration." The Post didn't note that Gizzi's boss is a friend of the president, which might also account for that newfound access.
Ruddy seems to be playing his cards in a way to ride Trump's coattails to becoming a more mainstream media player. It's clear, however, that Ruddy has no interest in being critical of his friend -- yet.
Conflict of Interest: Newsmax Doesn't Disclose It Published Horowitz Book It's Promoting Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax has been touting the new pro-Trump book by David Horowitz, "Big Agenda":
A Jan. 12 article promotes the book as "the first major book to be released on Trump's presidency (release date January 17), and reveals major components of his "first 100 days" plan and first-term agenda."
A Jan. 18 column by John Gizzi claimed that "Author David Horowitz's new book 'Big Agenda: Trump's Plan to Save America' drew fire from White House Spokesman Josh Earnest on Tuesday," asserting that the book was "already topping the best-seller lists
A Jan. 19 article highlights how Horowitz's book "released just this week, reveals Trump's 'first 100 days strategy' to roll back Obama's legislative and executive record."
A Jan. 20 article proclaimed Horowitz as "author of the just-released bestseller, 'Big Agenda: President Trump's Plan to Save America.'"(If it's just released, how can it already be a "bestseller"?)
That same dubious claim is made in another Jan. 20 article on Horowitz.
A Jan. 27 article regurgitates a Daily Caller review of the book claiming the book explains "how America will change for the better under the leadership of the nation's 45th president."
A Feb. 1 article touts a Newsmax TV special on the book.
Only two of these articles mentioned the book's publisher, Humanix; the Jan. 12 article claimed Humanix "also offered the #1 bestselling book on the 2016 campaign with its 'Armageddon: How Trump Can Beat Hillary.'"
None of these articles, however, mention that (as we've documented) Humanix Books is owned by Newsmax.
That's a fairly serious conflict of interest, though one it's done before in promoting "Armageddon," written by disgraced right-wing pundit Dick Morris.
Newsmax Columnist Demands Intel Loyalty to Trump Over Country Topic: Newsmax
Fred Fleitz used to run LIGNET, Newsmax's now-defunct "global intelligence and forecasting" service that tried (and failed) to charge $299 a year for analysis from ex-intelligence officials. Now it seems he's reduced to shilling for Donald Trump and throwing his former fellow intelligence types under the bus.
In a Jan. 6 Newsmax column, Fleitz expresses his rage that an intelligence report on Russian meddling in the presidential election was leaked to the media, complaining that this highlights "growing tension between President-elect Donald Trump and the U.S. intelligence community," and such leaks will "only widen the rift between Trump and U.S. intelligence agencies."
Apparently, Trump isn't at fault for perpetuating the rift.
Fleitz then demands total loyalty to Trump from the intel community, before even the good of the country:
How did the intelligence officials who leaked to NBC expect Mr. Trump to react? Did they give any thought to the damage these leaks would cause to relations between their agencies and the president-elect?
President Trump will need and deserve a U.S. intelligence community that provides him with hard hitting and objective analysis devoid of politics. It’s time for Director of National Intelligence Clapper and other intelligence officials to stop complaining about Donald Trump "disparaging" U.S. intelligence agencies and demand that intelligence officers stop trying to undermine our new president.
I am certain that the vast majority of intelligence officers welcome the opportunity to support Mr. Trump. If the handful of intelligence officers who have been leaking against Trump cannot accept his election and their responsibility to loyally serve the next president, they need to resign immediately.
Did Fleitz demand that the intel community be loyal to President Obama, or did he encourage them to undermine his presidency? We don't know. Perhaps Fleitz can enlighten us.
Fleitz doesn't explain if intel folks should stay loyal to Trump even as evidence mounts of the unseemly close connection between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia?
Newsmax Doesn't Understand Difference Between Weather And Climate Topic: Newsmax
A Dec. 30 Newsmax article on an upcoming cold snap carries the headline "Coldest Snap in US in 15 Years Coming, Climate Change or Not." The article itself, by Clyde Hughes, does not reference climate change.
We'll leave it to Neil deGrasse Tyson to school Newsmax on the difference between weather and climate, and how one can have a cold snap even as the overall climate is warming.
Newsmax's Ruddy Staying Buddy-Buddy With Trump Topic: Newsmax
One of the more minor controversies involved whether author Harry Hurt III was actually escorted off the grounds of a Trump golf club. Newsmax has its own take on it in a Jan. 2 article -- credited only to "Newsmas Wires" -- noting that it was "newsworthy because Hurt was golfing with billionaire David Koch as part of Koch's foursome at West Palm Beach's Trump International Golf Club."
The article then quickly runs to Trump's defense, noting that Hurt had written a book that "published divorce allegations made by Trump's first wife Ivana that while married she had been 'raped' by her husband," adding, "Ivana later recanted the comment, said she never meant to imply a legal definition of rape. She strongly supported her ex-husband in his presidential bid."
That was followed by a section we're pretty sure did not come from any wire service Newsmax subscribes to:
Hurt claimed in his Facebook post "David was appalled" by Trump's actions and implied David was asked to leave as well.
A Koch source tells Newsmax "at no time was DHK asked to leave."
Koch said "something to the effect when Harry Hurt offered to leave on his own, 'We came as a foursome and will leave as a foursome,'" the source said.
Another Koch associate in Palm Beach said the billionaire was not aware of the feud the two had in the past year. He was surprised his longtime friend had accosted Trump on the course and then went public with the episode.
The source added Koch has always personally liked Trump and he "loves" Trump's golf course, which he thinks is one of the best in the country.
The week before, Koch and his wife Julia had met Trump at Mar-a-Lago during a dinner hosted by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy and Palm Beach heiress Talbott Maxey. Koch congratulated Trump on his election victory and the two had a cordial conversation.
So not only is Newsmax close enough to the right-wing Koch billionaires to get a quick response from a "Koch source" for this story, Christopher Ruddy is hosting parties for Trump.
We've noted that Ruddy has long been a Trump buddy, and that he and then-Newsmax reporter Ronald Kessler played a major role in feeding Trump's presidential ambitions in the runup to the 2012 campaign, which set the stage for his 2016 run. Newsmax and Trump even tried to co-host a GOP presidential debate during the 2012 campaign, which fizzled when only two candidates showed interest in participating. Newsmax is headquarted in West Palm Beach, so the closeness to Trump is geographical as well.
Ruddy's closeness with Trump doesn't bode well for any effort to portray Newsmax as a fair and balanced news organization and not a Trump shill with conflicts of interest.
Newsmax's Ruddy -- A Trump Buddy -- Is Concerned About Anti-Trump Media Coverage Topic: Newsmax
A Dec. 19 Newsmax article summarizes its boss' appearance on CNN:
The news media was biased in its coverage of Donald Trump and that partiality had a bigger impact on the election than any "fake news," Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy told Brian Stelter Sunday on CNN's "Reliable Sources."
"You guys had a responsibility to give fair and balanced news," Ruddy said in his one-on-one segment with host Stelter.
"Instead the mainstream press focused on Trump's use of Twitter and the release of an audio recording on 'Access Hollywood.' The voters in Ohio and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, they were worried about jobs and trade.
"Donald Trump, to his credit, was in those states talking about those issues. You guys missed the story."
Ruddy said the media continues to be critical of Trump, focusing on stories like fake news and Russian hacking.
"I don’t think they’re necessarily giving him a complete fair shake," he said.
In that segment, however, Ruddy doesn't really discuss his own "responsibility to give fair and balanced news," as if conservative news outlets are exempt from responsible journalism. He said only that Newsmax will grow its online and video operations during the Trump presidency and that Newsmax "is going to be tough on Trump when we think he's going off the rails on policy issues," but he made it clear that his news operation will be "supportive" of him overall. IN other words. he's demanding more balance from his competition than from his own operation.
Ruddy also didn't explicitly disclose how close he and Trump are, or that Newsmax played a major role in legitimizing the idea of Trump as presidential timber. Ineeed, the day after his CNN appearance, he tweeted: "Just finished Newsmax Christmas @ 230 Fifth, Pres. Trump called my cell at party wishing 'Merry Xmas' - @realDonaldTrump is not happy w CNN!"
Ruddy then repeated how a study (he incorrectly claimed it was from the Pew Center; it was actually done by the Freedom Forum) from the 1990s reported that "89 percent of the people voted for Bill Clinton -- of the press corps in Washington voted for Bill Clinton." We documented way back in 2000 how skewed that study was; most study respondents weren't from national news outlets but from small regional papers whose Washington bureau reporters, some of whom are just one person, focus their coverage mostly on local issues and have no influence on the national political agenda.
Newsmax Opposes Time Warner-AT&T Merger Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax will oppose the proposed merger of Time Warner and AT&T. It broke that news in the strangest way -- not by reporting it directly but by quoting Fox Business quoting Newsmax's Christophery Ruddy talking about it. From a Dec. 7 Newsmax article by Greg Richter:
The proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner would be bad for competition and would "promote liberal CNN," Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said.
Fox Business Network's Charles Gasparino reported on his network Wednesday that Ruddy is opposed to the deal and is willing to join with a growing group of conservative and liberal critics who oppose the plan.
Michael Reagan, son of the late president and a conservative commentator, wrote an op-ed Wednesday opposing the $85 billion deal as Senate judiciary hearings were set to begin.
The deal would mean that AT&T, as the acquiring company in the proposal, would control around 25 percent of all cable and satellite traffic across the United States (AT&T also owns DirecTV).
At the same time, AT&T would own several powerful content channels like CNN and HBO.
That combination will give the new merged AT&T powerful leverage over the market and competitions, something Ruddy and other critics are worried about.
"Conservative media outlet Newsmax plans to oppose this," Gasparino reported. "Newsmax's CEO Chris Ruddy … he's planning to use all the leverage he has, from his network, his website, and possibly his lobbying effort.
"He says that this deal will stifle competition and promote liberal CNN."
Richter (and Gasparino) also made sure to include Ruddy's connections to President-elect Donald Trump:
Gasparino noted that President-elect Donald Trump is opposed to the deal, and said Ruddy "has close ties with Trump. He was at Mar-a-Lago during Thanksgiving. He was asked by Donald Trump who he should pick for secretary of state
"This guy has Trump's ear, so he is going use that ear to try to kill this deal."
As befits a media mogul trying to stop a deal regarding one of his alleged competitors and with the president-elect's ear, Newsmax has been cranking out op-eds and articles attacking the deal:
But there's also a Dec. 12 Newsmax article that lists "several issues on which Democrats and Trump agree," one of which is "Preventing the merger of AT&T and Time Warner."
That means Ruddy and Newsmax are once again putting its conservative credentials in danger (as if being a buddy of Bill Clinton wasn't enough).
UPDATE: But then, this appears to be a play to get better and increased carriage of Newsmax TV. Earlier this year, Newsmax was embroiled in a dispute with Dish Network over placement of the channel there (which mainly came down to Newsmax wanting to stop paying Dish Network to air it). Newsmax promoted negative news about Dish Network during the dispute.
AT&T-owned DirecTV also dropped Newsmax TV in August -- which somehow didn't get mention in the above articles opposing the merger -- presumably because of a similar dispute over paying for carriage. It has since published negative news about DirecTV too.