Newsmax CEO Defends Airing Unverified Election Fraud Claims in the Name of Free Discourse

Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy has admitted that some of the channel's post-election news coverage has not been accurate, but defended the output as merely providing people's opinions.

Ruddy was being interviewed on Peacock's The Mehdi Hasan Show about how he can justify the misinformation and conspiracy theories that have been aired on the network, which has seen a surge of viewership and praise from Donald Trump.

Hasan described Newsmax's post-election coverage as like "watching a parallel universe" as it continues to push disputed claims of widespread voter fraud, the debunked theory that a Dominion Voting Systems glitch massively favored Joe Biden and the suggestion that Trump could still be president in January.

Hasan also played an "especially ridiculous" clip from Diamond and Silk, who appear on Newsmax despite being cut from Fox News for spreading conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the clip, Diamond and Silk, real names Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, claim the "China Virus" and the "scamdemic" are linked to an overall plan for the Democrats to rig the election.

"Given you yourself have been a journalist Chris for more than 30 years, do you feel embarrassed to be running nonsense like that on your network and calling it news?" Hasan asked.

"Like all the networks, and networks you've been on, there's a lot of opinion hosts, and they have all sorts of things that I don't subscribe to," Ruddy replied.

"I do believe in free discourse, I believe in people having their opinion. We're not saying that that is accurate."

Hasan then interrupted Ruddy to ask him "You're not saying your own shows are accurate?" which he does not respond to.

"We have gone out of our way to say we have no evidence that the Dominion software was manipulated in any way," Ruddy continues.

"We are reporting what people are saying like the Trump campaign, we're not necessarily embracing it."

Hasan then asks when history looks back on this "undemocratic moment" when many Republicans were trying to "overturn a free and fair election" whether Newsmax would be "proud" of what they chose to air.

Hasan gives an example of the press conference from recently fired Trump lawyer Sydney Powell, who is accused of being a QAnon supporter and suggested that former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013, had a hand in creating the Dominion Voting Systems which were purportedly used to help rig the election for Biden.

"She's a prominent attorney that filed on this. She's a former U.S. attorney. Again, I think the public can make a decision rather than you or I, as to the quality of the information she's giving and whether she's legit."

Hasan tweeted out a clip of the interview, which has since been viewed more than 200,000 times.

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Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy attends a dinner with the US president and business leaders in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 7, 2018. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty

Correction 11/26/20: This headline has been updated to more accurately reflect the story.