Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling for a congressional investigation into the AT&T DirecTV decision to drop Newsmax.
DeSantis, a possible candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, made his comments Tuesday during a press conference in Sarasota, Florida.
"It seems it's the One America News and the Newsmax who are being targeted," DeSantis said. "And so I think it does warrant [congressional] investigation."
Last week AT&T DirecTV shocked congressional
Republicans and conservatives across the nation when it abruptly removed Newsmax, the fourth highest-rated cable news channel, watched by 25 million Americans, from its channel lineup.
DirecTV customers call toll free at 877-763-9762 to complain, demand Newsmax is returned! Oppose censorship – sign The Petition – Click Here
AT&T's move was the second time in a year it has deplatformed a conservative channel, cancelling the popular OAN last April.
"I really think this is something that the Congress needs to look at and I think they need to ensure that there's not intellectual discrimination going on when it comes to what people are able to view," DeSantis said.
The governor added that "there should be no ideological litmus test when you have these big companies giving out the decision to make or break a news network or any type of network."
DirecTV cited "cost-cutting" reasons in removing Newsmax and OAN, at the same time it continues to carry 22 liberal-leaning news channels. Most of these channels have tiny audiences and DirecTV continues to pay all of them hefty license fees.
DeSantis said he was not buying the excuses.
"They'll give different rationales for why they don't want to do it, he said. "But the reality is they have so much other content that is very lightly viewed and yet they keep it on."
Newsmax has said that DirecTV refused to negotiate with it on a fair price for fees, telling the network it would never pay any license fees to it.
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy, noting that all other cable news channels get paid fees, said that AT&T DirecTV's action was "political discrimination" and "a blatant act of censorship."
Since DirecTV's cancellation, leading Republicans have expressed upset at the political targeting of the highly rated channel.
Monday night House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, appearing on Newsmax, called AT&T's deplatforming of Newsmax "very concerning."
"It really comes down to a free-speech matter, and Newsmax should never be punished simply because they're a conservative news outlet," McCarthy said.
McCarthy said he has spoken to AT&T and informed the company that "Newsmax should not be treated any differently based upon them being a conservative news outlet."
And no less than nine senators have spoken out in support of Newsmax after the deplatforming, including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, Markwayne Mullin, Joni Ernst, Lindsey Graham, Rick Scott, Mike Lee, and Tom Cotton.
Last week, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said there would be hearings and that he was troubled by AT&T's actions.
AT&T's move comes despite Newsmax being the fourth highest-rated cable news channel in the U.S., a top 20 channel overall, and watched by 25 million Americans on cable alone.
Actions to Take Now
1. DirecTV customers call toll free at 877-763-9762 to complain, demand Newsmax is back on air!
2. Call your congressman or senator at 202-224-3121 and demand they stop AT&T/DirecTV's censorship of NEWSMAX — ask them to give you a date on the hearings!
3. Go to our online petition and get more info: iWantNewsmax.com.
Jeffrey Rodack, who has nearly a half century in news as a senior editor and city editor for national and local publications, has covered politics for Newsmax for nearly seven years.
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