A group of prominent Senate Republicans has requested information from DirecTV, a cable provider, regarding its recent removal of the conservative network Newsmax from its channel lineup.
On February 1st, Republican Senators Ted Cruz (Texas), Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), Mike Lee (Utah), and Tom Cotton (Arkansas) wrote a letter to DirecTV's leadership, expressing their concern over the removal of Newsmax from the channel lineup. The letter, obtained exclusively by The Hill, stated that the senators were "deeply disturbed" by the decision and claimed that it could be an instance of big businesses suppressing speech that is politically unfavorable at the request of liberal Democrats.
“DirecTV’s decision follows recent revelations of collusion between Big Tech companies and Democrat officials to label conservative speech as ‘misinformation’ and censor it,” the senators wrote. “The silencing of conservative speech at the request of government officials is a direct assault on free speech and a threat to democracy.”
Senators Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Mike Lee, and Tom Cotton sent a letter to DirecTV and its controlling shareholders, AT&T and TPG, to voice concerns about the recent decision to drop NEWSMAX. https://t.co/wEtBrXVGQk pic.twitter.com/WYGTUolZP9
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) February 1, 2023
Last week, DirecTV dropped Newsmax, a conservative news network that predominantly features content supporting former President Trump and other conservatives, due to a disagreement between the two parties regarding carrier fees.
As per its prior agreement with Newsmax, DirecTV did not pay any carrier fees to the network, despite its much smaller audience compared to the top three cable news channels: Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC.
DirecTV representatives informed The Hill that during negotiations with Newsmax, they made it known that they wanted to continue carrying the network. However, Newsmax's demands for higher rates would have resulted in significantly increased costs for DirecTV, which would have had to be passed on to its broad customer base.
Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, and the network's supporters argue that the decision is driven by political bias against conservatives and cite DirecTV's previous decision to drop One America News, another right-leaning news station.
A day after discontinuing Newsmax, DirecTV announced the inclusion of The First, a conservative opinion and commentary network, to its lineup.
Big news! @TheFirstonTV will soon be available on @DirecTV! With the recent addition of The Liz Wheeler Show to The First’s lineup, I'm excited to bring these much-needed messages and stories to the homes of millions of DirecTV customers.https://t.co/f9m7PWyOIP
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) January 27, 2023
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