Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy Defends Insurrection Coverage to D.C.
Said Democrats circulated their own 'disinformation'
Newsmax TV founder Christopher Ruddy said that the House Energy & Commerce Committee Communications Subcommittee Democrats who sent a letter to distributors asking them to justify their carriage of Nexsmax were circulating their own disinformation about his network's coverage of the Jan. 6 Capitol Insurrection.
Also Read: House Dems Say Disinformation Is Spotlight, Not Cudgel
Earlier this week, Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney, both California Democrats, wrote to a dozen cable, satellite and streaming companies calling on them to better combat disinformation--which they principally identified as Fox, Newsmax and OANN--and asked them whether they were going to continue to carry those outlets and, if so, why? The letters came in advance of a hearing Wednesday (Feb. 24) in the House Energy & Commerce Committee entitled “Fanning the Flames: Disinformation and Extremism in the Media.”
Ruddy sent a letter to the bipartisan leadership of the subcommittee and full Energy & Commerce Committee alleging the Democrat disinformation campaign and asking it be included in the official hearing record.
In the letter, Ruddy said: "Newsmax never called the breach of the Capitol 'a sort of romantic idea.'
Instead, he said, the claim was made on the network by liberal law professor Thane Rosenbaum, who Ruddy said had been describing the rally "before any violence or illegal activity had taken place at the Capitol." Ruddy said the Democrats' letter asserting the contrary was "deliberately misleading and intended to contribute to a false narrative about Newsmax..."
He included some on-air quotes by Newsmax hosts during the attack, including:
“They are not supposed to be there, and we certainly don’t condone that…. Hopefully, some of these folks will end up getting arrested, and we will know who they are…. Going through a police barricade, or overrunning a police line, is also something that is … not to be encouraged."--Tom Basile, host of “America Right Now.
“And let’s be quite clear here: we condemn the violence, we condemn it. Alright? The people who did illegal things must be arrested.--Greg Kelly, host of Greg Kelly Reports.
But the hearing made clear that the Democrats' concerns went beyond day-of coverage by news outlets to amplification of unsupported claims about election fraud by various media outlets.
In his letter, Ruddy said that "In general, Newsmax reported fairly and accurately on allegations and claims made by both sides during the recent election contest."
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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.