House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said he finds the deplatforming of Newsmax "very concerning," promising Congress would hold hearings about the matter soon.
Appearing on Newsmax's "Spicer & Co." on Monday, the speaker told hosts Sean Spicer and Lyndsay Keith that "you're going to see action taken, because we believe it's responsible to allow everybody to have a choice of what news they want to listen to."
Last week AT&T DirecTV shocked congressional Republicans and conservatives across the nation when it abruptly removed Newsmax, the 4th highest-rated cable news channel, watched by 25 million Americans, from its channel lineup.
"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.
AT&T, the majority owner of satellite distributor DirecTV, cut Newsmax's signal at midnight ET on Wednesday, citing "cost-cutting."
Newsmax was the second conservative channel DirecTV deplatformed in a year; it cut off the popular OAN network last April.
McCarthy said he has already spoken to AT&T and informed the company that "Newsmax should not be treated any differently based upon them being a conservative news outlet."
DirecTV refused to negotiate with Newsmax on a fair price for fees, telling the network it would never pay any license fee.
Newsmax noted that all other cable news channels get paid fees, and most have lower ratings.
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy called DirecTV's action "political discrimination" and "a blatant act of censorship."
McCarthy said he would like DirecTV to reverse its decision.
"This is very concerning to me, and I hope we get this corrected so everybody out there, especially on DirecTV, can have the choice in programming and especially have the choice to get their news," he said.
McCarthy also noted that in his travels, "I can't tell you the number of people who tell me they watch Newsmax and like what they're hearing and want to have the choice to see it."
Since DirecTV's cancellation, leading Republicans have expressed outrage at the political targeting of the highly rated channel.
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.
And some 41 congressmen led by Rep. Wesley Hunt, R-Texas, fired off a letter warning AT&T and DirecTV of "extensive hearings" into the deplatforming.
Last week, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said there would be hearings.
"We're going to meet later today and try to discuss which committee's going to do what," Comer told "Wake Up America" on Friday. "That's certainly on the agenda. I'm very concerned by this."
DirecTV has been telling customers and others it balked at Newsmax's request for "significant fees."
But the network noted it only sought a modest fee of $1 a year per subscriber — with almost all news channels receiving significantly more, even with lower ratings.
DirecTV, for example, pays CNN about $14 a year per subscriber from DirecTV.
Last week, former President Trump took to his Truth Social to rip AT&T DirecTV for paying CNN despite its low ratings.
Trump said the decision to drop Newsmax was "disgusting" and called on Republicans to cancel both DirecTV and other AT&T products, including wireless and cellular services.
Actions to Take Now
1. DirecTV customers: Call them toll free at 877-763-9762 and demand they bring NEWSMAX back on air. President Donald Trump urges you CANCEL!
- Important: If DirecTV tells you we are still negotiating, that is a lie! They have told NEWSMAX we will never be on a regular cable channel. DirecTV also replaced NEWSMAX with a channel that has no news and no ratings. Also, NEWSMAX's livestream is ending soon on other platforms, so unless you get it on DirecTV, you will have to cancel their service.
2. AT&T customers: Call toll free at 888-855-2338, for any of their cellphones, wireless products, or services, and demand they end their censorship of NEWSMAX. President Trump has urged you to cancel their 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 at: iWantNewsmax.com.
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