|Born||January 28, 1965|
St. John's University, Bachelor's degree, summa cum laude, (1987) |
London School of Economics, Master's in public policy
|Employer||CEO of Newsmax Media, Inc.|
|Home town||Williston Park, New York, U.S.|
|Board member of||Financial Publisher's Association|
Christopher Ruddy (born January 28, 1965) is the CEO of Newsmax Media, which publishes Newsmax.com and broadcasts the Newsmax TV network. In April 2010, media-industry magazine Folio named Ruddy to its "FOLIO 40," an "annual list of magazine industry influencers and innovators". A prominent conservative, he was an early donor to Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
Ruddy grew up on Long Island, New York, where his father was a decorated police officer in Nassau County. He graduated from Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York before graduating summa cum laude with a degree in history from St. John's University, New York in 1987. He earned a master's degree in public policy from the London School of Economics and also studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He worked briefly as a bilingual high school social studies teacher in the Bronx, New York. Ruddy holds an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from St. John's University.
Early in his career, Ruddy was editor in chief of a conservative monthly periodical known as the New York Guardian. While with the Guardian, Ruddy gained notice for debunking a story in the PBS documentary Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II that an all-black army unit had liberated the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps.
Ruddy called the documentary an example of "how the media can manipulate facts and narratives to create a revised history both believable and untrue similar to the events of 9/11." PBS subsequently withdrew its support for the documentary, following an independent investigation by the American Jewish Committee.
Ruddy then moved to the New York Post, which he joined as an investigative reporter late in the summer of 1993. After initially writing about abuse of Social Security disability benefits, he focused on the Whitewater scandal involving then-president Bill Clinton.
Since 1996, Ruddy has been Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. Ruddy serves on the board of directors of the Financial Publishers Association (FIPA), an industry trade group whose goal is "to share knowledge of best business practices to help our members' publications grow and prosper, while empowering readers with unbiased, independent information".
He is a member of the International Council, chaired by Dr. Henry Kissinger, at the CSIS, a bipartisan Washington, D.C., think tank focused on national security and foreign affairs. Ruddy also served as a representative on the U.S. delegation headed by Senators Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham to the NATO 44th Munich Security Conference.
From 2009 to 2013, Ruddy served on the board of directors of the American Swiss Foundation, a nonprofit organization that fosters relations between the two countries. In 2015 he was elected to the Zweig Fund and the Zweig Total Return Funds, two New York Stock Exchange-traded closed-end funds managed by Virtus.
In January 2010, Britain’s Daily Telegraph ranked Ruddy as one of the “100 Most Influential Conservatives” in the U.S. The paper said: “Chris Ruddy is an increasingly powerful and influential player in the conservative media and beyond.” 
Following Ruddy's work at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in 1998, he started Newsmax with a $25,000 investment along with Richard Mellon Scaife, who owned the Tribune-Review. As of a 2010 report quoting Forbes, "the duo quickly raised $15 million from 200 private investors and then bought them out in 2000. Ruddy now owns a 60 percent stake with the rest owned by Scaife".
According to a 2014 profile in Bloomberg Businessweek, Newsmax generates over $100 million revenue annually. CNN reported that Newsmax was the third most-viewed political website in the nation, behind itself and Politico.
Newsmax launched a full-fledged television news channel, Newsmax TV. The channel launched on Directv and Dish, and soon added Verizon Fios, giving the new network a reach of over 42 million cable/satellite homes. Ruddy told Bloomberg Businessweek his goal was to offer the nation “a kinder, gentler” version of Fox News, and said his plan was to target the nation’s baby boomers with more practical information on health, finance and lifestyle issues.
Newsmax Media started in 1998 when, impressed with the way news of the Clinton impeachment circulated on the Internet, Ruddy decided to start an Internet news company. With financial support from investors, Ruddy founded Newsmax Media. The NewsMax.com website launched on September 16, 1998, with Ruddy serving as columnist and editor-in-chief. In addition to the web site, the company publishes a monthly magazine, also called Newsmax. After starting Newsmax, Ruddy was featured in a January 1999 Newsweek cover story as one of twenty "Stars of the New News."
In addition to its popular news portal, Newsmax.com, the company publishes Newsmax magazine and a host of health and financial newsletters. A March 2009 profile of Ruddy and Newsmax on Forbes.com described his media company as the "great right hope" of the Republican Party and said after just a decade of operations it had become a "media powerhouse". Political analyst Dick Morris told Forbes that Newsmax had become the "most influential Republican-leaning media outlet" in the nation.
A 2011 New York Times story on Newsmax detailed the company’s growing influence, especially Republican politics and noted that almost all of the party’s presidential candidates had made a "pilgrimage" to the company’s south Florida headquarters for a meeting with Ruddy.
Dow Jones Marketwatch.com's media critic Jon Friedman noted that Ruddy had become a "bigger internet star than Rush Limbaugh" and that his web site ratings had surpassed that of the Drudge Report. Friedman suggested that Ruddy's success was due to a more balanced approach to news coverage and the GOP's worldview.
Folio magazine in its Folio 40 ranking identified Ruddy as a "C-Level Visionary" and noted that under his leadership Newsmax has flourished during the economic downturn "where success is really measured these days," continuing the Newsmax brand "ascendancy" both digitally and in print.
In July 2010, Newsmax made an unsuccessful bid for Newsweek. Though the newsweekly was purchased by another group, Ruddy said that if he had purchased the newsweekly he would not have changed its editorial direction, focusing instead on its business model. He claimed that within 18 months he would have brought the publication to profitability.
Given Ruddy's close relationship with President Donald Trump, the Qatari government has been seeking to acquire a major stake in Newsmax in order to "to win friends and clout in the United States as it struggle[s] to respond to a Trump-endorsed blockade by its Arab neighbors."
Ruddy is one of (and perhaps the most prominent among) several individuals who have discussed (e.g. Morton, Robert and Ruddy, Christopher (November 22, 1997). C-Span:Book Discussion On (video). Maison Blanche Restaurant Washington, DC.) questions regarding the death of White House counsel Vince Foster, work which was described by Former FBI Director William S. Sessions as "serious and compelling".
New York Post editor Eric Breindel recommended Ruddy for a job at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review owned by Richard Mellon Scaife. In November 1994, Ruddy was hired to investigate the story full-time by the Tribune-Review. In between Ruddy's departure from the Post and joining the Tribune-Review, he put out a report through the Western Journalism Center criticizing the Fiske investigation as inadequate. With the help of Scaife, the Center took out full-page ads in major newspapers to promote the report (Scaife gave $330,000 to the Center in 1994–95 before ending his support).
Ruddy claimed that Park Police had staged the scene of Foster’s death as described in their reports. One of the officers named by Ruddy sued him along with the Western Journalism Center, seeking $2 million in damages for libel. The suit was dismissed because Ruddy had said nothing libelous “of and concerning the officer.”
Ruddy later built on his work on the Foster case for his book The Strange Death of Vincent Foster. In reviewing the book, Richard Brookhiser of the National Review called it "the St. Mark version of the gospel of the Foster cover-up: a plain narrative of the perceived failings of the official investigation, with minimal speculation." Shortly after the book came out, Fiske's successor as independent counsel, Kenneth Starr, released his report from the third investigation into Foster's death. Starr also concluded that Foster had committed suicide.
Ruddy ended his investigative reporting after founding Newsmax, but continues to writes an occasional blog while he shapes overall editorial policy. He told Jeremy Peters of The New York Times that his outlets provide “news that Americans in the heartland would like to see.”
Ruddy describes himself as a libertarian conservative and “Reaganite,” though he is not registered as a Republican.
Throughout his career, Ruddy has often staked out positions at variance with the Republican party. For example, Ruddy broke with the Bush Administration on the Iraq War, and was one of the first conservatives to do so. "I came out very strongly against the war in Iraq when it wasn't in vogue, back in 2004," Ruddy told The Palm Beach Post. "I lost some subscribers. But we are close to spending a trillion dollars on the war and there is no exit strategy," he added. "Lots of Republicans and conservatives are not that gung-ho on the war anymore and I think we broke the ice."
The Palm Beach Post interview also noted that Ruddy, disenchanted by the war and runaway federal spending under Bush, re-evaluated the Clinton years and offered a kinder view of the administration he once criticized. Compared with his reporting during Bill Clinton's presidency, Ruddy eventually took a more subdued view to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. He said she had moderated and no longer generated the same animosity among conservatives. Ruddy told The New York Times he and Scaife had changed their views: "Both of us have had a rethinking. Clinton wasn't such a bad president. In fact, he was a pretty good president in a lot of ways, and Dick feels that way today." This got some attention in conservative circles where Ruddy and Scaife were criticized for their newfound liking of the former president. David Horowitz defended Ruddy in response, suggesting the comment referred to Clinton's domestic policies and arguing that Ruddy had not considered those objectionable even during the Clinton administration itself.
In the fall of 2007, Ruddy published a positive interview with former president Clinton on Newsmax.com, followed by a positive cover story in Newsmax magazine. The New York Times noted with reference to the event that politics had made “strange bedfellows.”
Newsweek reported Ruddy praised Clinton for his foundation’s global work, and explained that the interview, as well as a private lunch he and Scaife had had with Clinton (which Ruddy says was orchestrated by Ed Koch), were due to the shared view of himself and Scaife that Clinton was doing important work representing the U.S. globally while America was the target of criticism. He also said that he and Scaife had never suggested Clinton was involved in Foster's death, nor had they spread allegations about Bill Clinton's sex scandals, although their work may have encouraged others. Ruddy and Scaife again met Clinton for lunch at his office in September 2008. "We had a great time with him," Ruddy said of the meeting. He added, "We consider Bill Clinton a friend and he considers us friends." Forbes indicated the relationship between Ruddy and Clinton has continued and described them as "lunch chums."
During a 2010 campaign swing through Florida, President Clinton departed from his schedule to make a visit to Newsmax's offices in West Palm Beach. After a private meeting with Ruddy, Clinton toured Newsmax's offices and met with its staff.
A May 2009 New York Times Sunday magazine profile on the former president, "The Mellowing of William Jefferson Clinton," offered more details of the relationship between Ruddy and Clinton. The Arkansas Times said details about the friendship between Ruddy and Clinton in the New York Times profile was the "most amazing revelation" of their profile of the former president. Ruddy told the Times though he remained a "Reagan conservative", he had re-evaluated the Clinton presidency and suggested he had earned high marks as president for success in ending welfare, keeping government in check, and supporting free trade. Ruddy also noted that the Clinton Foundation was doing remarkable work globally.
In July 2012, Ruddy was a member of the official delegation that accompanied President Clinton on his five-nation tour of Africa, reviewing Clinton Foundation initiatives in the area of health care, HIV/AIDS programs, education, and poverty alleviation.
During the delegation’s visit to Maputo, Mozambique, Ruddy blogged for the Clinton Foundation website, “The Clinton Foundation demonstrates that public-private partnerships and strategic engagement of private citizens, community members, and local governments can achieve great results in health care. And as I saw firsthand today in Mozambique, this work is innovative in its scope and in its purpose – which is to ensure governments can own and maintain their own health care systems without further reliance on aid. I applaud the Clinton Foundation for bringing together groups and individuals from all sides of the political spectrum to build a world that’s more equal, more sustainable, and that benefits us all.”
Addressing the occurrence of noted tweets from President Trump on Friday night and Saturday in Politico, Ruddy said, “He understands the news cycle. ... It’s an opportunity to get out news on a Saturday, when other news organizations aren’t pushing too much new. He realizes that Saturday is a free media day for him.” The story described Ruddy as a Mar-a-Lago member and longtime friend of Trump’s.
On June 12, 2017, Ruddy claimed that Trump met with Robert Mueller to offer him the job of FBI Director just days before it was announced that he would be appointed special counsel for the Russian investigation. Ruddy did not provide any proof of this. He also claimed in the same interview that Trump is considering terminating Mueller's position as special prosecutor. However, it was not clear if this was based on Trump's comments or the comments of his lawyer made during the previous week.
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