Newsmax’s Chris Ruddy Preps TV Network to Rival Fox News
Hmm. He reminds me of someone. I just can’t quite put my finger on who.
Christopher Ruddy, 49, the chief executive officer and founder of conservative media company Newsmax Media, is giving a tour of his neighborhood in an Acura driven by his chauffeur, Hector. The car heads south on I-95 from West Palm Beach to Boca Raton. It’s the heart of Florida’s Red Belt. Ann Coulter lives a few blocks away—Ruddy spent New Year’s Eve there. Rush Limbaugh is just across the bridge. Donald Trump, David Koch, Patty Mellon Scaife, and a host of other Republican power brokers have homes across the lagoon in Palm Beach. To live among such conservative heavyweights is one reason Ruddy settled in West Palm Beach; the other is that Florida has no state income tax. The headquarters of Newsmax is here, too, off Okeechobee Boulevard; virtually every Republican presidential candidate makes an obligatory visit.
Newsmax, which had revenue of $104 million in 2013, up from $85 million the year before, is perhaps best known for its namesake, 200,000-circulation monthly magazine. A conservative reimagining of the traditional newsweekly, Newsmax publishes political stories such as “President Obama’s Outrageous Power Grab” and ads for gold coins and hearing aids. For conservative politicians, making a Newsmax cover is an important stamp of validation. newsmax.com, launched in 1998, before the magazine, is the most trafficked conservative site on the Web, with more than 11.5 million visitors in January, according to ComScore (SCOR). On a recent morning, the featured posts on the home page were “Obama Intel Reforms Threaten US Security,” “GOP Poised to Retake Senate as Disillusioned Democrats Depart,” and “Bomb-Strapped Islamists Threaten ‘Present’ at Olympics.” Ruddy has amassed a 5 million-person e-mail list, one reason Republican presidential candidates stop in to see him.