Newsmax (or Newsmax.com, previously styled NewsMax) is a conservative American news and opinion website founded by Christopher Ruddy on September 16, 1998, and operated by Newsmax Media. The website is divided into four main sections: Newsmax, Newsmax Health, Newsmax Finance, and Newsmax World, each divided into various subsections. Newsmax Media also operates a print magazine called Newsmax as well as the cable news channel Newsmax TV. Newsmax launched a cable TV channel on June 16, 2014 to 35 million satellite subscribers through DirecTV and Dish Network. As of May 2019, the network reaches about 75 million cable homes and has wide digital media player/mobile device availability. The channel primarily broadcasts from Newsmax's New York studio on Manhattan's East Side, with two headquarters in West Palm Beach, Florida and Sugar Land, Texas.
In 2018, the Qatari government sought to acquire a major stake in Newsmax in order to "to win friends and clout in the United States as it struggle[s] to respond to a Trump-endorsed blockade by its Arab neighbors." Since Qatar moved to invest in Newsmax, the publication softened its tone on Qatar. While Newsmax had been "among the conservative outlets that led the charge in portraying Qatar as a major state sponsor of terror," when the Emir of Qatar visited the U.S. in April 2018 the outlet "cheered the visit and said it was 'widely praised.'" In 2019 and 2020, Newsmax published several op-eds by Raphael Badani, a fake persona who was part of a broader network pushing propaganda for the United Arab Emirates and against Qatar, Turkey and Iran. Newsmax listed him as an "Insider", and included a fake bio and photo of the persona. Media Matters reported that during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, Newsmax sent a marketing email to its subscriber list asserting that "the WORST thing you could do is get a vaccine when it becomes available" because "vaccines are one of the biggest health scares of our lifetime—a scam perpetuated among the American people." It instead encouraged subscription to a health newsletter and dietary supplements. When contacted by Newsweek, Newsmax issued a statement saying "This marketing material was inadvertently published and it does not reflect the views of Newsmax."
Ruddy started Newsmax.com on September 16, 1998, supported by a group of investors, including the family of former Central Intelligence Agency Director William J. Casey. Later, Richard Mellon Scaife, Ruddy's former employer at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, invested in the fledgling company. One of the initial board members was author James Dale Davidson who edited a financial newsletter. Davidson's co-editor, Lord Rees-Mogg, former editor of the London Times, later became chairman of Newsmax. Ruddy previously promoted conspiracy theories around the suicide of Vince Foster. Other news figures who later joined the Newsmax board included Arnaud de Borchgrave, the longtime Newsweek chief correspondent who also serves as editor-at-large of United Press International (UPI) and Jeff Cunningham, former publisher of Forbes. Admiral Thomas Moorer, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chief of Naval Operations during the Vietnam War, also served as one of the company's founding board members. Former United States Secretary of State and Nixon and Ford administration Chief of Staff, General Alexander M. Haig, Jr. served as special adviser to NewsMax. In 1998, Newsmax became known for its anti-Clinton content. In the fall of 2007, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy published a positive interview with former president Bill Clinton on Newsmax.com, followed by a positive cover story in Newsmax magazine. The New York Times said with reference to the event that politics had made "strange bedfellows." Bill Clinton also visited the Newsmax headquarters in West Palm Beach in 2010. In 2014, Newsmax donated $1 million to the Clinton Foundation and CEO Christopher Ruddy has accompanied President Clinton on foundation trips to Africa. In a January 2010 profile on the company, the Financial Times reported that the "rise of Newsmax" had defied the media trend and said that the Newsmax website was "one of the strongest conservative voices online". The paper said Newsmax had witnessed 40 percent growth rates per annum over the past decade, closing 2009 with $35 million revenues, up from $25 million the year before. A 2010 New York Post story reported that the paper's long-time former editor, Kenneth Chandler, was tapped as Newsmax Magazine's editor-in-chief. CEO Ruddy also told the Post the company expected annual 2010 revenues to exceed $50 million.
A profile on Newsmax in The New York Times described the company as a "potent force" in U.S. politics and noted the company's headquarters had become a must stop for Republican candidates seeking the party's 2012 nomination. Starting in April 2013, Newsmax.com and its affiliated sites drew 14.4 million unique visitors, leading comScore's News/Politics category over such sites as The Huffington Post Politics, Fox News Politics, CNN Politics, NBCNews.com Politics, and Politico in monthly viewership for two consecutive months. In March 2014, Newsmax was profiled in Bloomberg Businessweek by correspondent Karl Taro Greenfeld. The story detailed Newsmax's successful business model of targeting higher-incomed Baby boomers. The average age of a Newsmax online reader is 54.7 years of age. The profile detailed Newsmax's plans to launch a linear and Over-the-top (OTT) content cable channel, and suggested their revenue model which sells "a smorgasbord of political, health, and financial information, self-help books, and even vitamin supplements" could make the company uniquely competitive in this arena. Newsmax contributors include Nancy Brinker, George Will, John Gizzi, Lanny Davis, Alan Dershowitz, Christopher W. Ruddy, David Limbaugh, Ben Stein, Susan Estrich, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Michael Reagan, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen. In November 2017, Politico reported that Fox News, facing new competitors, was giving more favorable coverage to President Donald Trump. In an interview, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy criticized Fox News' hosts unwillingness to criticize President Donald Trump, telling Politico that "Newsmax is very supportive of the president, but we also will publish things that are critical of him time to time," Ruddy said. "Fox seems to have decided to become very closely aligned, which seems unnatural, and it doesn't seem consistent.