Newsmax CEO defends conspiracy theories peddled on network: “We’re not saying” our hosts are “accurate”

Newsmax carried ex-Fox News commentators Diamond and Silk spreading conspiracy theories about the presidential election and the coronavirus “scamdemic”

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Citation From the November 24, 2020, edition of Peacock’s The Mehdi Hasan Show

MEHDI HASAN (HOST): I want to play an especially ridiculous clip that I saw from Diamond and Silk — who were cut loose even by Fox News for being too extreme for them. Here they are, hosting your network, have a listen.

HASAN: 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”?

CHRIS RUDDY (CEO, NEWSMAX MEDIA): Well, I think it's 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. I do believe in free discourse, I believe in people having their opinion. We're not saying that that is accurate. In fact, we've gone out of our way in our news reporting to say we have — we have no evidence —

HASAN: You're not saying your own shows are accurate?

RUDDY: We have gone out of our way to say we have no evidence that the Dominion software was manipulated in any way. We are reporting what people are saying, like the Trump campaign. We're not necessarily embracing it. You know, you worked for MSNBC, as a sister network to Peacock. For two years, they pushed a theory, a conspiracy theory involving Russia — turned out to be a hoax — that the president collaborated with Russia. And that was done by both your news division and your opinion hosts. So, you know, I think the job of reporters —

HASAN: I mean, I think the arguments about Russia are much more factually based than claiming the pandemic is a "scamdemic," I think was one of — Diamond and Silk were saying a moment ago. Also, I don't speak for the NBC News divisions, but last time I checked they haven't given money to a political party. Newsmax gave $50,000 to Republican [Sen.] Susan Collins without disclosing it on air. So there are questions about the news organization that you run.