What’s going on with Christopher Ruddy?

Starting in 1993 at the New York Post where he wrote hard-hitting investigative articles on the Clinton administration, then, after the Post got cold feet and pushed him out, at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, where his anti-Clinton exposés had the full support of publisher Richard Mellon Scaife, then as the author of a book on the death of Vincent Foster, and then as founder and editor-in-chief of the website NewsMax in 1998, Christopher Ruddy was throughout the nineties the Clintons’ most persistent and relentless journalistic critic. On February 19 the New York Times published a front-page article, “As Clinton Runs, Some Old Foes Stay on Sideline,” which contained the following:

Christopher Ruddy, who once worked full-time for Mr. Scaife investigating the Clintons and now runs a conservative online publication he co-owns with Mr. Scaife, said, “Both of us have had a rethinking.”

“Clinton wasn’t such a bad president,” Mr. Ruddy said. “In fact, he was a pretty good president in a lot of ways, and Dick feels that way today.”

On February 24, this letter by Ruddy appeared in the New York Post:


February 24, 2007—John Podhoretz’s article about me and Richard M. Scaife implies that we are either mad or hypocritical by citing a New York Times story that quotes me as saying we share the view that Bill Clinton was “a good president in a lot of ways” (“Now They Tell Us,” Post- Opinion, Feb. 20).

Left out of both the Times’ and Podhoretz’s piece was that I told the Times that our view applied to Clinton’s domestic policies and the fact he had managed to avoid entangling us in a quagmire in the Mideast.

I also told the Times that I still stood behind my extensive reporting during the Clinton years.

Podhoretz makes several false accusations against me, claiming, for example, that I accused Clinton of being a “murderous rapist” and of having ties to drug-running at Mena airport.

I have never written or said such things, no matter how much Podhoretz “connects the dots.”

Christopher Ruddy
CEO, NewsMax.com
West Palm Beach, Fla.

Yesterday, February 25, I wrote Mr. Ruddy the following e-mail:

Dear Chris.

It’s been a long time. I hope you are well.

From the moment the story in the New York Times appeared last week in which you were quoted saying that Clinton had been a “good president in a lot of ways,” I was in a state of disbelief. I kept checking NewsMax each day to see if you would write an article explaining your astonishing turnaround. No such article has appeared.

Instead, you wrote a brief letter to the New York Post on the matter. But the letter leaves your position as murky as ever. How can you say that you stand by everything you wrote about Clinton and also say that he was a good president?

You note in your Post letter that in your Times interview you added qualifications which the Times declined to print:

“Left out of both the Times’ and Podhoretz’s piece was that I told the Times that our view applied to Clinton’s domestic policies and the fact he had managed to avoid entangling us in a quagmire in the Mideast.”

Unfortunately, these qualifications do not explain your turnaround. Throughout the ‘90s you described Clinton as a criminal and at least quasi treasonous president. Given that fact, even if he did some good things in domestic policy (which of course conservatives acknowledged even in the ‘90s), that would still not justify your calling him a good president.

I don’t think you realize how demoralizing it is to people who lived through the Clinton debauching of America, people who read you throughout the ‘90s, for you turn around and without any explanation appear to undercut everything you stood for.

Also, given your knowledge of the methods of the liberal media, including your personal experience of being viciously misrepresented by the media (e.g. your appearance on Sixty Minutes to discuss your book on the Foster case), why did you think that if you handed the Times the red meat of saying that Clinton was a good president, and then added some qualifications to that statement, that they would print your qualifications? Didn’t you realize that a statement from Chris Ruddy that Clinton was a “good president in lots of ways” would be played up by the Times to help advance the Clintons’ political fortunes? Didn’t you realize that the Times would use this to say that conservatives in the ‘90s had just been attacking Clinton out of “hate” and “anger,” and that there was really no substance to their attack on him, and that the proof of this is that, now that some years have passed, the “anger” is worn off?

The conservative argument against Clinton was based on truth and morality and patriotism. You have helped the liberals and the Clinton excusers make it seem as though it was based on nothing but anger and political cynicism, which of course has been their position all along.

What is needed from you is a full explanation of your changed position on Clinton, not just a brief letter to the NY Post.

Larry Auster

Today Chris Ruddy wrote back to me saying that he had written a more detailed discussion of his position that should be published at NewsMax tomorrow.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 26, 2007 11:18 AM | Send

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