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Rep. Fitzgerald to Newsmax: DirecTV Dropping Newsmax 'Disappointing'

By    |   Wednesday, 08 February 2023 05:16 PM EST

Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Wis., told Newsmax Wednesday that DirecTV's decision to drop the network from its channel lineup was "disappointing." Also, several members of Congress are concerned that censorship of conservative media could become more widespread.

"It's disappointing, and it kind of falls into the same folder as a lot of the other items where conservative voices like Newsmax are being curtailed, or there's an attempt to censor them," said Fitzgerald, while appearing on "American Agenda."

"In discussions that I've had directly with AT&T," DirecTV's parent company, "they're kind of pretending that there's nothing to see here, but you can tell there's a number of members of Congress that are starting to grow more and more concerned that this could spread," said Fitzgerald.

DirecTV cut the news channel off from its 13 million subscribers Jan. 24, while citing a dispute over "carriage fees."

The company also claimed that keeping Newsmax would have led to "significantly higher costs that we would have to pass on to our broad customer base," CNN Business reported Jan. 26.

DirecTV customers call toll free at 877-763-9762 to cancel/complain

"We continually evaluate the most relevant programming to provide our customers and expect to fill this available channel with new content," DirecTV said in a statement to CNN, adding that it wanted to "continue to offer the network."

In a counter statement, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy characterized DirecTV's move as political in nature, especially coming just a few months after the service removed another conservative network, OAN, from its offerings.

"This is a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax," Ruddy said in the statement. "The most extreme liberal channels, even with tiny ratings, get fees from AT&T's DirecTV, but Newsmax and [One American News] need to be deplatformed."

Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have already come to Newsmax's defense, while also criticizing AT&T's rationale in dropping the fourth highest-rated news network in the cable landscape, and a top-20 channel overall. 

Removing Newsmax "is a big blow to the Republican Party, and to America itself," Trump recently posted on Truth Social, according to CNN.

And DeSantis called for an investigation into the companies for "targeting" OAN and Newsmax, reported Jan. 31.

"I think there should be no ideological litmus test when you have these big companies that have the decision to make or break a news network, or any type of network," DeSantis said.

"They will give different rationales for why they don't want to do it, but the reality is they have so much other content that is very lightly viewed, and they keep that on, and it seems it is the One America News and the Newsmax that are being targeted. So, I think it does warrant an investigation," added DeSantis

Fitzgerald said the members of Congress are also working on legislation to fix the issue.

"If you talk to the members that are engaged directly, it sounds like they're still working on legislation, which certainly would get the attention of many members of Congress," said Fitzgerald. "So, this isn't over by any means."

Newsmax is the 4th highest-rated cable news channel reaching 25 million Americans, according to Nielsen.

DirecTV claimed both Newsmax and OAN were removed as "cost-cutting" measures.

At the same time the service continues to carry 22 left-leaning news channels, many with much lower ratings than Newsmax. And all of those channels get license fees.

This week, DirecTV claimed Newsmax was demanding "excessive fees" that would cost them in the "tens of millions" of dollars.

Newsmax has denied these claims, saying it was seeking a fee of about $1 per cable subscriber per year, among the lowest fees asked for in cable, and that total amount of the deal was a fraction of "tens of millions."

"This was never about the fees being excessive," Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, said. "DirecTV's position has always been that Newsmax of all cable news channels should never get any cable fee whatsoever, not one penny. "

Actions to Take Now

1. DirecTV customers call toll free at 877-763-9762 to cancel/complain.

2. AT&T customers call toll free at 888-855-2338 to cancel/complain for U-verse, cellular, and wireless services.

3. 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!

4. Go to our online petition and get more info:

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Wis., told Newsmax Wednesday that DirecTV's decision to drop the network was "disappointing." Also, several members of Congress are concerned that censorship of conservative media could become more widespread.
fitzgerald, newsmax, directv, at&t, trump, oan
Wednesday, 08 February 2023 05:16 PM
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