Christopher Ruddy is the CEO and President of Newsmax Media Inc., a digital and television news media company that, if the gossip mills are to be believed, could very well be President Donald Trump’s new home after he exits the White House. Ruddy founded Newsmax in 1998 with the intention of publishing online and offline news content. Since then, Newsmax.com has grown into one of the biggest news sites in the US and Newsmax TV has made its way into over 70 million homes. Find out more about its owner as we run through 10 things you didn’t know about Christopher Ruddy.
1. He’s got multiple degrees
Ruddy was born and raised on Long Island, New York. After graduating from Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York, he won a place at St. John’s University, New York. He graduated from the university summa cum laude with a BA in history in 1987. He later went on to study for a master’s degree in public policy at the London School of Economics, as well as an undergraduate degree in Hebrew at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In addition to those degree’s he actually studied for, he also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from St. John’s University.
2. He launched Newsmax in 1998
In 1995, Ruddy signed up as a national correspondent with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. But after three years with the outlet, he’d apparently got sick of front line reporting. After securing a $25,000 investment from the paper’s owner, Richard Mellon Scaife, he launched Newsmax in 1998. Although the initial investment was small, he quickly found enough private investors willing to hand over their cash to develop the enterprise in the way he wanted. Within just 2 years, he’d managed to generate enough profit to pay off the investors and reclaim his majority stake in the business.
3. He’s got no plan on turning Newsmax into Trump TV
With the role of president about to be filled by someone else, Donald Trump is getting ready to hit the job market. And already, speculation is rife about how he plans on staying in the spotlight. After the Wall Street Journal suggested that Hicks Equity Partners had entered into talks to buy Newsmax, the rumors started flying about whether Trump could feature in the plan. But there’s one man who’s having none of it. In an interview with Variety, Ruddy made it explicitly clear that Newsmax was in no danger of being turned over lock, stock, and barrel. “Newsmax would never become ‘Trump TV.’ We have always seen ourselves as an independent news agency, and we want to continue with that mission,” he says. “But we are open — [Trump] is going to be a political and media force after he leaves the White House, and we would be open to talking to him about a weekly show.”
4. He’s one of the ‘Most Influential Conservatives’ in the US
Ruddy might be permanently based in the US, but his reputation has got him noticed on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2010, word of Ruddy’s increasing political influence reached the British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, who promptly named him to their list of the “100 Most Influential Conservatives” in the U.S. By their reckoning, “Chris Ruddy is an increasingly powerful and influential player in the conservative media and beyond.”
5. He’s not always 100% honest
According to Wiki, Ruddy’s bio contains a few claims that are less fact than fiction. For a while now, Ruddy has claimed to be a Media Fellow with the Hoover Institute Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. Yet according to the institute’s official website, he isn’t now and never has been.
6. He’s published several books
Prior to launching Newsmax, Ruddy was primarily known for his investigative journalism with the likes of the New York Post and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. But he’s not reserved his way with words for the papers. Over the years, the Newsmax CEO has released several books, including 1996s ‘Vincent Foster: The Ruddy Investigation’ (an examination of the death of White House counsel Vince Foster), and 2002s ‘Bitter Legacy: Newsmax Reveals the Untold Story of the Clinton-Gore Years’ (a scathing account of the Bill Clinton- Al Gore administration).
7. He describes himself as a libertarian conservative
Despite being one of Trump’s confidantes, Ruddy isn’t registered as a Republican. In fact, he’s broken away from the party on several occasions, most notably during George Bush’s involvement in Iraq. Ruddy himself describes his political leanings as ‘libertarian conservative’.
8. He’s got friends in high places
In 2002, Ruddy published ‘Bitter Legacy: Newsmax Reveals the Untold Story of the Clinton-Gore Years’. Among other things, the book questioned whether the former Clinton White House aide Vincent Foster had really committed suicide. Unsurprisingly, the book added further fuel to the conspiracy theory that he’d been murdered. But strangely, Bill Clinton and Ruddy have remained close friends. Asked by the ft.com if Clinton ever reproached him for the suggestion he was implicit in murder, Ruddy answered “Not really. He says things like, ‘you gave me a rough time’, but I never actually said he murdered somebody and he knows that.”
9. He’s promised Newsmax will support the next president
Even Trump seems to be having his doubts at this stage, but Newsmax still thinks he’s in with a shot at a second term. As one of the very few remaining news outlets to call the election, their decision could be seen as a ploy to win an even bigger share of the Trump audience by parroting his insistence it’s not over till the fat lady sings (or in this case, the Electoral College meets in December). But if they do eventually concede and call for Joe Biden, Ruddy has promised to be supportive. “We will be supportive of whoever the next president is,” he’s said. “Newsmax is moderately conservative and we will continue to have a moderately conservative viewpoint on things — including the president.”
10. He blames Fox for the election outcome
If Newsmax ever does get round to calling Biden as the new president, there’s only one group Ruddy will blame for Trump’s dethronement – Fox News. Throughout the election, Fox News’ coverage has proved contentious in Trump-leaning quarters, particularly with regards the network’s early-doors call of Arizona for Biden on election night. “I think — I am shocked about what Fox News has done,” Ruddy said during “The Michael Berry Show Podcast”. “I think if Trump loses and it’s a close election, blame Chris Wallace and Fox News.”