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Tags: at&t | directv | congress | letter | free speech

Letter From Wesley Hunt, 41 Congressmen to AT&T DirecTV Opposing Censorship

Letter From Wesley Hunt, 41 Congressmen to AT&T DirecTV Opposing Censorship
(Dreamstime.com)

Tuesday, 31 January 2023 08:25 AM EST

This is the full text of a letter, dated Jan. 20, from Rep. Wesley Hunt, R-Texas, and signed by 41 other members of Congress, to executives of AT&T's DirecTV management: John Stankey, CEO of AT&T, William Morrow, CEO of DirecTV, and  Jon Winkelried, CEO of TPG Capital.

Dear Messrs. Stankey, Morrow, and Winkelried:

It has recently been revealed that Congressional Democrats and the White House coordinated closely with private companies to de-platform, de-monetize, or otherwise limit the reach of viewpoints they oppose and classify them as "misinformation." As members of the House Republican Conference, we are deeply concerned about this un-democratic assault on free speech.

The actions of AT&T and DIRECTV are of particular concern. On February 22, 2021, Democratic members of the Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to AT&T and DIRECTV encouraging the censorship of conservative television networks One America News Network (OANN), Fox News, and NEWSMAX. Given the jurisdiction of the Energy and Commerce Committee over your companies' business interests, it is reasonable to assume you took this letter seriously and complied with these demands. Indeed, less than one year later, on January 14, 2022, AT&T and DIRECTV notified OANN that you would no longer carry its programming, a separation that became final on April 5, 2022.

It is our understanding that DIRECTV - still majority-owned by AT&T and minority-owned and managed by TPG Capital - is moving to de-platform NEWSMAX by denying it cable fees on a fair and equitable basis. It is our understanding that DIRECTV carries 11 liberal news and information channels including Vice Media. The same individuals who sit on DIRECTV's board of directors also sit on Vice Media's board of directors. Coincidentally, based on Kagan estimates, Vice Media appears to receive higher fees than NEWSMAX is requesting despite having a fraction of the audience.

Taken together, these two actions lead us to believe that DIRECTV, one of the nation's largest Multichannel Video Programming Distributors, is actively working to limit conservative viewpoints on its system. This is extremely concerning for Members of Congress because it suppresses political discourse and hamstrings our ability to connect with our constituents. If Newsmax is removed from DIRECTV, in less than a year House Republicans will have lost two of the three cable news channels that reach conservative voters on a platform that primarily serves conservative-leaning areas of the country.

Congress intends to conduct extensive oversight on the extent to which House Democrats and officials in federal offices colluded with private companies to limit, restrict, and circumvent First Amendment rights. These investigations will not be limited to social media companies.

As a preliminary step, we are asking you to respond to our concerns outlined in this letter. With this response, we are asking you provide to us the ratings for each of the networks noted above, with comparison data, including set-top box data, on all the other networks that are carried by DIRECTV, and the corresponding fees paid by your company to these networks.

Sincerely,

Wesley P. Hunt, R-Texas

Elise M. Stefanik, R-N.Y.

James Comer, R-Ky.

Jason Smith, R-Mo.

Michael C. Burgess, R-Texas

Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

Ken Buck, R-Colo.

Paul A. Gosar, R-Ariz.

Andy Harris, R-Md.

Andy Barr, R-Ky.

Brian Babin, R-Texas

Alex X. Mooney, R-W.Va.

Don Bacon, R-Neb.

Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.

Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.

Brian Mast, R-Fla.

Ralph Norman, R-S.C.

Michael Cloud, R-Texas

Tim Burchett, R-Tenn.

Dan Meuser, R-Pa.

W. Gregory Steube, R-Fla.

Michael Waltz, R-Fla.

Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J.

Tom Tiffany, R-Wis.

Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.

Byron Donalds, R-Fla.

Jake Ellzey, R-Texas

Bob Good, R-Va.

Ronny L. Jackson, R-Texas

Nancy Mace, R-S.C.

Lisa McClain, R-Mich.

Troy E. Nehls, R-Texas

Burgess Owens, R-Utah

Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla.

Mike Flood, R-Neb.

Monica De La Cruz, R-Texas

Nicholas A. Langworthy, R-N.Y.

Michael Lawler, R-N.Y.

Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla.

Rich McCormick, R-Ga.

Max Miller, R-Ohio

Keith Self, R-Texas

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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This is the full text of a letter, dated Jan. 20, from Rep. Wesley Hunt, R-Texas, and signed by 41 other members of Congress, to executives of AT&T's DirecTV...
at&t, directv, congress, letter, free speech
637
2023-25-31
Tuesday, 31 January 2023 08:25 AM
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