Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy Backs Rosenworcel, Sohn FCC Nominations

Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy attends a dinner with the US president and business leaders in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 7, 2018.
Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy at a 2018 dinner at former President Donald Trump's Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club. (Image credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Chris Ruddy, head of conservative cable news channel Newsmax TV, said he believes Democratic Federal Communications Commission nominees Jessica Rosenworcel and Gigi Sohn are fair-minded people of integrity who deserve confirmation.

Rosenworcel is acting chair and will be chair if confirmed. Sohn would be a new addition, the third Democratic commissioner on the five-member panel, which is currently tied at 2-2. As a former top adviser to Obama-era FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, Sohn backed access to distribution channels for independent programmers, something that clearly resonates with Newsmax.

Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media, said he had dealt with both nominees on policy issues, from which he had drawn those conclusions about fairness and integrity.

Rosenworcel has also signaled to Congress she will be taking a fresh look at the competitive marketplace and how much access independent programmers can get, through both traditional and over-the-top channels.

“Increasingly, independently operated cable news channels like Newsmax are being sidelined in favor of a small number of mega-corporations who dominate the channel lineups, forcing upon consumers expensive and little-watched networks,” Ruddy said. “It’s bad for the public interest and dangerous for democracy.

“While I don’t always agree with the nominees on many policy matters, Newsmax fully supports the commission’s mandate to promote diversity, localism, and competition in the marketplace,” Ruddy added. “Newsmax believes both nominees are committed to that mandate and I urge the Senate to confirm the nominations of Jessica Rosenworcel and Gigi Sohn.”

Sohn also got support from another conservative cable channel and another strange bedfellow for a progressive Democrat: One America News Network‘s Charles Herring. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.