Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy was reportedly told he needed to pay the right-leaning cable channel Newsmax to appear on its air.
Chris Ruddy, the head of Newsmax, told Ramaswamy that he needed to buy television ads if he wanted coverage about him to appear in prime time, according to the news site Semafor.
Ramaswamy — a 38-year-old former biotechnology executive, who is running third in the latest polls — had called Ruddy earlier this summer to complain that the network was relegating him to little-watched midday slots or ignoring him outright, according to two people familiar with the conversation cited by Semafor.
Ruddy reportedly suggested to Ramaswamy that buying more ads on Newsmax paid dividends for Perry Johnson, a longshot GOP candidate who has paid for numerous ads and is a frequent subject of oft-aired documentaries and features on the network.
Newsmax has denied the claim.
A Newsmax spokesperson told Semafor that the insinuation “that Newsmax is asking candidates to advertise in order to ensure coverage as some quid pro quo … is categorically untrue and incorrect.”
“Newsmax would take an assertion such as that very seriously,” the network’s spokesperson, Bill Daddi, told Semafor.
“There is no correlation between advertising and editorial visibility for any candidate on Newsmax.”
Daddi added: “If candidates want to reach our audience outside of our programming, then, of course, advertising would be a good way for them to do this.”
“That is the basis of all political advertising.”
The Newsmax spokesperson told Semafor that the network was among the first media outlets to offer Ramaswamy airtime after he declared his candidacy for president.
Newsmax “consistently covered all of the major and minor candidates, a number of whom have spent nothing with the network, such as Mike Pence and Nikki Haley,” the spokesperson told Semafor.
“As is true for all networks, if candidates want to reach our audience outside of our programming, then, of course, advertising would be a good way for them to do this,” the spokesperson told Semafor.
“That is the basis of all political advertising, whether it be on Newsmax, FNC (Fox News Channel), CNN or MSNBC.”
The Post has sought comment from Newsmax and Ramaswamy.
Ramaswamy, a businessman and author, has emerged from nowhere to mount a campaign that has him trailing only Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and front-runner Donald Trump in the crowded GOP presidential field, according to one poll.
Ramaswamy, DeSantis, and other GOP hopefuls will participate in the first debate of the primary season in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
The debate, which will air on Fox News beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern time, will be moderated by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.
Fox News is a subsidiary of Fox Corp, the corporate sister to The Post’s parent company, News Corp.
Trump has indicated that he will sit out the debate — instead opting for an interview with Tucker Carlson that will be streamed on X.