The money behind Ruddy (and maybe Newsweek): Richard Mellon Scaife

Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

Earlier today, Karl Frisch highlighted the interest of Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy in buying Newsweek. While Newsmax makes rich Republicans its target demographic -- according to Talkers magazine, 20 percent of its readership claims a net worth of $1 million or more -- it likely doesn't throw off enough money for Ruddy to purchase Newsweek without help.

Enter Richard Mellon Scaife.

Scaife, that longtime right-wing sugar daddy, has been Ruddy's benefactor for well over a decade, since Ruddy brought his Clinton conspiracy-mongering to the Scaife-owned Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. When Ruddy started Newsmax in 1997, Scaife was among the original investors, and by 2002 he was the third-largest shareholder. Today, all the other shareholders have been bought out, and Scaife and Ruddy are the sole owners of Newsmax, with Ruddy holding a majority stake.

Ruddy and Scaife purchasing Newsweek is not as far-fetched as it sounds, actually. Newsmax already publishes a monthly magazine that, despite an unmistakable rightward tilt, is professionally designed. A Ruddy-operated Newsweek would likely look much as it does now -- but would definitely have a lot more right-wing content, with an additional focus (like its current magazine has) on two other areas of Newsmax interest, money and health. It may also give a bigger platform for longtime Ruddy buddy (and failed prognosticator) Dick Morris, who has a history of helping Ruddy shill for Newsmax' financial products.

If, say, George Soros had expressed interest in buying Newsweek, Fox News wouldn't be able to report on anything else for days. But two right-wing political activists looking into obtaining the number-two weekly newsmagazine is raising barely a ripple.

UPDATE: Newsmax has confirmed that it has made a bid for Newsweek, adding that if it succeeds in obtaining the magazine, "Newsweek would continue in its mission to objectively report the news and provide analysis from a wide spectrum of perspectives."

Christopher Ruddy
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