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Chris Ruddy on Newsmax's bid for Newsweek

While I was gone, Michael Calderone reported that the conservative Newsmax Media was bidding for Newsweek -- currently owned by the Washington Post Co. That sparked much speculation and gnashing of teeth from liberals who assumed that a Newsmax-owned magazine would become a conservative movement organ. I posed the question to Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media, who suggested that a magazine purchased by the company really did not have to become conservative.

"We offer numerous financial and health newsletters and content," Ruddy said, "and they are not 'conservative.' As a media company we can certainly own a mainstream media outlet and give that outlet independence. Newsmax's success is in its business model, not just its editorial approach. This business model can apply to other media, including Newsweek, without changing their editorial take."

The public image of Newsmax -- among liberals at least -- seems flash-frozen in the politics of a decade ago, when Ruddy was best known as a conservative reporter looking for holes in the case of White House Counsel Vince Foster's suicide. But Newsmax has become a $35 million per year business, helped dramatically by non-partisan financial research projects, and's imprint on the rest of the media comes less from conservative shock columns, more from reporting.

By David Weigel  |  June 4, 2010; 8:57 AM ET
Categories:  Media  
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