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Scoop: Newsmax Leader Responsible for Interview Edit That Angered Top Republican, According to Staffers

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Sources at Newsmax who spoke with Mediaite said Sen. Mike Lee’s criticism of Ukraine was cut for a reason other than time: Chris Ruddy, a vocal supporter of Ukraine, is averse to allowing on-air criticism of the nation.

Mike Lee on Newsmax with Eric Bolling

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The day after Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) appeared for an interview on Newsmax, he publicly criticized the conservative network.

“Newsmax cut an entire segment of my interview last night,” Lee complained in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “No mention of Ukraine – even though part of the interview focused specifically on the supplemental.”

“I’ve never had this happen with any news network, not like this,” he added, tagging the head of the network, Chris Ruddy, and asking: “what happened?”

The interview, a sit-down with Newsmax prime time anchor Eric Bolling, was pre-taped on Monday and aired 8 p.m. that night on Eric Bolling The Balance.

In the portion of the discussion that aired, Lee and Bolling spent roughly nine minutes discussing the Trump hush money trial, anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the border crisis.

An exchange about Ukraine, in which Lee expressed his opposition to U.S. funding for the war-torn country, was cut from what aired. The interview came the night before the Senate passed a $95 billion aid package that included funds for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

Sources at Newsmax who spoke with Mediaite on condition of anonymity said the criticism of Ukraine was cut for a reason other than time: Ruddy, a vocal supporter of Ukraine, is averse to allowing on-air criticism of the nation and of U.S. aid to it after Russia’s invasion.

“It’s my understanding that the network did not want any criticism of Ukraine,” said one Newsmax staffer.

Another staffer said Bolling was overheard at the Boca Raton, Florida offices of Newsmax aggressively fighting back over the edit, arguing the network could not cut comments from a high-ranking U.S. senator on a newsworthy topic.

“Bolling and his team fought back against the edit in an effort to maintain their journalistic credibility while the network sought to further management’s preferred narrative,” the first staffer said.

The staffer said such interventions from Ruddy are “standard” in the newsroom of the conservative network.

It’s “common,” they explained, “to receive warnings when [Ruddy] wants to drive a certain narrative on topics. Oftentimes, these opinions conflict with that of Republican lawmakers, Newsmax hosts, and the general Newsmax audience.”

Indeed, Ruddy’s support for Ukraine – and apparent mandate that Newsmax support the country as well – has put the network at odds with some of the most influential voices in the Republican Party, which has become increasingly isolationist in the Trump era. Fifteen Senate Republicans voted against the latest aid package.

Ruddy’s peculiar editorial directives have for years been a subject of gossip inside Newsmax. More than a year ago, multiple Newsmax sources said, mandates from Ruddy were changed to be signed as directives not “per Ruddy” but from “The Network.”

The sources said “The Network” is understood internally to be a mandate for what Ruddy will and will not allow on the network.

“‘The Network’ will sometimes send out emails outlining ‘The Network’s’ view on network-sensitive topics — basically, adopt this stance on air, or else, because it is the boss’ view,” a staffer said.

One employee explained that in some cases, hosts have been told not to talk about certain topics, such as Ukraine, Qatar (where a member of the royal family is an investor), former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and the Covid vaccines, especially when lawmakers have opposing views. boasts The interview is almost always cut if a lawmaker brings up the opposing view anyway, according to a staffer. Another staffer said that Ruddy, the voice of the network, sets many restrictions on what can be said or done on-air.In a statement to Mediaite, Sen. Lee expressed concern about Newsmax censoring discussions on Ukraine aid to reflect the network’s policy preferences and hoped that's not what happened.

A Newsmax statement to Mediaite vehemently denied that the interview was cut for anything but time, citing program timing reasons for editing the last part of the segment.

The network also added that although it strongly supports Ukraine in its defense against Russia, it has aired and will continue to air criticism of Ukraine aid.

One of the Newsmax staffers who spoke with Mediaite rejected the claim that Lee’s interview was cut for time, stating that it was actually cut because of the topic being discussed.

Sources at Newsmax who spoke with Mediaite said that Sen. Mike Lee’s criticism of Ukraine was cut because Chris Ruddy, a vocal supporter of Ukraine, does not allow on-air criticism of the nation.

The network added: “Newsmax has aired and will continue to air criticism of Ukraine aid, though the network strongly supports Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s unprovoked attack on it.”

One of the Newsmax staffers who spoke with Mediaite rejected the claim about Lee’s interview: “It was not cut for time but rather the topic.”

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