This is a story I have never told publicly before. I didn’t touch on it in my autobiography, “Stop the Presses!” – though I thought about it.
Somehow, I think the time is right.
Newsmax’s Chris Ruddy was once a very good friend of mine.
I thought I knew him well.
I considered him a trusted friend and confidant. He was like my younger brother. At times, I fancied him to be my protégé.
Back in the 1990s, he and I were in the center of unraveling what became known as “the Clinton scandals.” I won’t even try to list them all. They are too numerous for a book, let alone a column.
When I met Chris Ruddy, he was running a monthly magazine called the New York Guardian. It didn’t have much readership. But I could see some talent.
I already had a long and illustrious career in daily newspapers as a reporter, editor and top news executive. Shortly after Rupert Murdoch, best known today as the head of News Corp., which owns Fox News Channel, purchased one of my favorite hometown newspapers, the New York Post, which was perceived to be doomed to failing readership, I wrote Murdoch a letter with some ideas about how to revive the paper. Much to my surprise, he asked me to fly from California, where I had been living for many years, to New York to meet with his new editor, an Australian import by the name of Ken Chandler.
Chandler seemed to think I was there for a job. I was not. I was really there to present my ideas about saving a paper I had loved as a kid.
We hit it off, and when it became clear I was not in the job market, he asked me whom I could recommend for the paper’s new investigative unit – one of my recommendations for the paper. Without hesitation, I offered Chris Ruddy.
Ruddy did not have the resumé for the job, but he was hired shortly thereafter anyway, I assume on my recommendation and little else.
He began to write a series of penetrating articles about the mysterious death of Vincent Foster and was, in a matter of weeks, let go. Why? Because Murdoch had important business with the Clinton administration and didn’t need the headaches Ruddy was presenting him with.
For the next year or so, I did everything in my power to help Ruddy pursue that story and others involving the Clinton scandals. When the New York Times Magazine did a story about “The Clinton Haters,” Ruddy and I were in the middle of it. When Hillary Clinton talked about “the vast right-wing media conspiracy,” we were in the middle of it – along with a guy named Dick Scaife.
Unlike Ruddy and me, Scaife had money – lots of it. He soon hired Ruddy to pursue the Clinton scandals at his newspaper, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
I warned Ruddy about Scaife. I never trusted him. I told Ruddy he would compromise his values if he went to work for Scaife. He didn’t listen.
Today, Dick Scaife and Chris Ruddy own Newsmax – some would suggest my competition.
And, there is no question that Newsmax was founded to be WND’s competitor. They were going to replicate our success on the Internet – but with nearly unlimited financial resources.
Over the years, I have observed with some disappointment the changes in values and character that Chris Ruddy has demonstrated. He still belongs to all the right conservative groups. He still sponsors the Conservative Political Action Conference every year. But, make no mistake about it, he is no more conservative than Mitt Romney – in fact, less so.
For instance, would Romney dare praise Bill Clinton? Ruddy and Scaife do.
Would he revel in the accomplishments of Hillary Clinton? Ruddy and Scaife do.
Would he go so far as to praise another big-government, boondoggle, unconstitutional, rip-off program devised by Barack Obama? Ruddy and Scaife do.
Ruddy even wrote a shamelessly glowing profile of Bill Clinton back in 2007. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read it. Here are some excerpts:
- “Using his Clinton Foundation, the former president has sought to enlist private and corporate help in major global initiatives that tackle a range of concerns from AIDS to childhood obesity. The Clinton Global Initiative boasts more than 570 commitments worth an astounding $10 billion, involving more than 1,000 organizations and targeting 100 countries.”
- “There is no doubt Bill Clinton has broken the mold of what we expect from a former president.”
- “And there is also no question that in the past Bill Clinton has engendered considerable controversy. But there should be little disagreement today that he is doing exemplary work and is acting as a positive force for the United States.”
Controversy? Bill Clinton was a monster as president – a man who ruthlessly went after his enemies, including me, with politically motivated Internal Revenue Service audits. He lied under oath. He was impeached – and should have been convicted. I know for a fact Ruddy feared for his life when he was investigating him. Now, Bill Clinton is a saint?
What’s the point?
The point is simple. There are many people today who are profiting from their allegedly “conservative” credentials. But some of them – like my old friend Chris Ruddy – have become part of the problem. They haven’t just “compromised,” they’ve gone over to the dark side. In fact, some of them are playing both sides against the middle in an indecent grasp to be part of the establishment.
I just thought you should know.