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DirecTV drops Newsmax in protest from conservative lawmakers

Conservative network Newsmax was removed from DirecTV as of Tuesday at 11:50 p.m. EST.

DirecTV confirmed the decision, saying the network will no longer air on DirecTV, DirecTV Stream or U-Verse, with the decision due to Newsmax’s “demands for rate increases.”

“On multiple occasions, we made it clear to Newsmax that we wanted to continue offering the network, but ultimately Newsmax’s demands for rate increases would have resulted in significantly higher costs that we would have to pass on to our broad customer base. Everyone, including our customers, can watch the network for free on NewsmaxTV.com, YouTube.com, and on multiple streaming platforms such as Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Google Play. We are constantly evaluating the most relevant programming to provide our customers and expect to fill this available channel with new content,” a DirecTV spokesperson said in a statement.

The satellite TV company has reduced costs as more customers move away from linear television. In January, the company said it would lay off 10 percent of its management staff, or several hundred employees.

Newsmax heads, however, are firing back at the move, saying it was “censorship” against the network. “This is a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax,” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said in a statement.

“The most extreme liberal channels, even with small ratings, get fees from AT&T’s DirecTV, but Newsmax and OAN should be removed from the platform,” Ruddy added.

This comes after Republican lawmakers wrote a January 20 letter to the CEO of DirecTV, as well as the CEOs of AT&T and private equity firm TPG Capital, owners of the company, expressing concern about Newsmax’s removal in light of his decision to remove One America News, another conservative network, from the lineup last year.

“We understand that DirecTV – still majority owned by AT&T and minority stake in and managed by TPG Capital – is moving to de-platform Newsmax by denying it cable fees on a fair and equitable basis,” the letter reads. congressmen. is reading.

Lawmakers claimed that DirecTV has 11 “liberal” news channels, including Vice Media, a company it shares several board members with and which congressmen claim is charging higher fees.

“Taken together, these two actions lead us to believe that DirecTV, one of the country’s largest multichannel video programming distributors, is actively working to limit conservative views on its system. This is extremely concerning to members of Congress as it stifles political discourse and hinders our ability to connect with our constituents,” the lawmakers said.

“Congress intends to conduct extensive scrutiny of the extent to which House Democrats and officials in federal offices colluded with private corporations to limit, restrict, and circumvent First Amendment rights. These investigations will not be limited to social media companies,” the letter said.

DirecTV responded to the letter on Jan. 23, saying the company had tried to continue offering Newsmax on the same terms.

“Let me start by assuring you that DIRECTV is in no way working to limit conservative views. DIRECTV’s fundamental value proposition to its customers is to offer a wide variety of programming options at prices that match our customers’ pockets. This also applies to our range of news channels,” the letter states.

“We are not trying to remove Newsmax from the platform. On the contrary, we want to continue our carriage of Newsmax under the same conditions as now, and we have made that clear to Newsmax. We have been negotiating with Newsmax for months and, facing the expiration of our current agreement, have initiated a short-term extension to give the parties additional time to come to an agreement. We continue to engage in discussions with Newsmax and work in good faith to reach an agreement that we believe is in the best interests of DIRECTV subscribers,” it continued.

Newsmax positions itself as a competitor to Fox News and has hired several of its former hosts, including Heather Childers, Greg Kelly, Rob Schmitt and Bob Sellers. It strongly supported former President Donald Trump and aired his false claims that the 2020 election was rigged. Newsmax later apologized to specific individuals it claimed were involved.

The conservative TV channel had returned to DirecTV in June 2017, after being removed from the satellite network and its competitor, Dish, in 2016. At the time, Newsmax was urging its viewers to call Dish and ask them to bring the channel back. The station was “placed between a series of shopping channels”, making it difficult to find, the channel argued at the time.

“We are disappointed with DISH Network’s decision to stop broadcasting Newsmax TV. With this, DISH has sidelined an important and independent news voice,” the channel said at the time.

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