Ruddy Lobbied Trump Against Raising TV Cap

The head of the conservative TV news network Newsmax, who has been a vocal opponent of the Sinclair-Tribune, said on CNN that he told the president strict limits on national TV ownership are needed not only to keep a lid on Sinclair, but also on the "liberal" broadcast networks. “I think that would have been very dangerous if NBC was dictating the local news coverage in Des Moines, Iowa."  

In a weekend appearance on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Newsmax owner and self-described friend of Trump Christopher Ruddy said he lobbied the president against raising the national ownership cap not just because of Sinclair, but also because of the “big liberal networks.”

“I told him [Trump] about my opposition because Sinclair would reach 70% of U.S. homes and, while I don’t disagree necessarily with Sinclair’s editorial point of view, I did not want to see NBC and ABC and the big liberal networks…[reaching] 70%.

“I think that would have been very dangerous if NBC was dictating the local news coverage in Des Moines, Iowa.

Was the appeal persuasive? Maybe not, Ruddy said. “The president, I think, had a different view on that.”

Ruddy rejected host Brian Stelter’s suggestion that Trump was the “invisible hand overseeing media regulation.”

“He is quite the opposite,” Ruddy said. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai runs an independent agency, he said, adding that he “showed a lot of integrity” in effectively rejecting the Sinclair-Tribune merger.


That decision, in the form of an order last Wednesday designating the merger for hearing, was bi-partisan and unanimous, he said. The order accuses Sinclair of misleading the FCC by retaining control over three stations that Sinclair said it was divesting to comply with FCC ownership rules.

Pai called for the order not because he disliked Sinclair, Ruddy said, but because Sinclair “refused to comply with the most basic regulatory rules.”

Ruddy joined liberal foes of media consolidation and cable interests in opposing the Sinclair-Tribune merger, which would have stretched Sinclair’s coverage from nearly 39% of TV homes to 66%, not 70% as Ruddy said.

Ruddy is a rival of Sinclair. Both have ambitions to challenge Fox News Channel in the conservative news arena.

Comments (7)

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FreeRightsUSA says:

July 23, 2018 at 5:56 pm

LOL. NBC O&Os actually have fact based news broadcasts and have focused on investigations that have done quite a lot of good, including abuses by prison guards at Rikers, TSA abuse toward new employees at the airports, etc. No forced commentaries or must runs like Hyman and Epstein.

Paul Greeley says:

July 24, 2018 at 9:08 am

Christopher Ruddy, there are no liberal boogie men or women in the corporate offices at NBC, or CBS, or Nexstar, or Scripps, or anywhere else, dictating what their local TV stations should cover.
Thankfully, those stations decide that on their own, based on what they determine is important to their viewers, and their community.
And when they do cover the news, even politics, they do so without bias, prejudice, or an agenda.
And that includes the Fox-owned local TV stations, although what viewers see on the national Fox News is overtly and unabashedly conservative in its political news coverage.
And although I’m not privy to what happens at the Sinclair stations, other than the must-run editorials, I think I can say with some degree of certainty that even they don’t dictate to their stations what or how the news, even the political news, ought to be covered.
For Christopher Ruddy to believe that any broadcast group owner, NBC, ABC, Nexstar, Scripps, whatever, would dictate news coverage in any of their markets tells me how ignorant he is of how local TV stations work.

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