Republican Congressman Kevin Hern warned Tuesday that AT&T's DirecTV is just one of many big carriers "suppressing" alternative voices like Newsmax.
Joining "Spicer & Co.," the Oklahoma congressman called out the satellite provider's decision to stop broadcasting the fourth highest-rated news channel over a contract dispute involving licensing fees.
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has argued that the requested fee was normative of network television and minuscule compared to hundreds of less-successful channels.
DirecTV customers call toll free at 877-763-9762 to cancel/complain
"It's certainly very concerning with what we've seen with the government being involved in media over the last four years," Hern explained, further pointing to information on the topic revealed by Elon Musk's Twitter Files.
"The First Amendment rights that the American people are so proud to have — the first right we have is freedom of speech and freedom to know what's going on," he continued. "And to see what's happening right now with some of our big carriers is very problematic."
The representative emphasized that it wasn't just Newsmax being targeted but "so many others across this country," from traditional media to new forms like the internet.
His comments arrive just one week after Republican Congressman Ken Buck of Colorado and 17 other GOP colleagues delivered a one-hour House special order calling attention to DirecTV's decision to cancel Newsmax.
Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee "disagreed with the content coming out of One America News Network and Newsmax, and decided they wanted them canceled," Buck said in reference to a 2021 letter calling for Fox News, OANN, and Newsmax to be booted off the air.
"This is a clear case of free speech infringement and viewpoint discrimination. Government colluding with telecommunications giants should chill us all," he added.
AT&T’s DirecTV removed Newsmax from its systems on January 24, denying 13 million subscriber homes the channel.
Newsmax is the 4th highest-rated cable news channel reaching 25 million Americans, according to Nielsen.
AT&T has come under fierce criticism for removing Newsmax, the second conservative channel in the past year it has deplatformed, with OAN leaving last April.
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.
DirecTV has issued a statement it wants Newsmax back on its service, but only on its terms.
Ruddy said there has been no real negotiation and no flexibility by DirecTV in its refusal to pay any carriage fees to the network.
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: iWantNewsmax.com.
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