Four prominent Republican U.S. senators sent a letter to DirecTV and its controlling shareholders, AT&T and TPG, to voice concerns about the recent decision to drop Newsmax.
Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., wrote to DirecTV CEO William Morrow, AT&T CEO John Stankey, and TPG CEO Jon Winkelried to demand answers and information.
Cruz is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Graham is ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee – panels that have jurisdiction over the communications industry and civil liberties, respectively.
"It appears that this decision may be the latest example of big business suppressing politically disfavored speech at the behest of liberal Democrats," the senators said in their letter. "We are writing to request detailed and specific information about DirecTV's actions.
"Congress and the public have a right to know the extent to which DirecTV's decision to drop Newsmax was politically motivated, including whether the company succumbed to pressure from administration officials or Democrats in Congress."
DirecTV claims it removed Newsmax last week from its channel lineup as a "cost-cutting" measure. Newsmax sought a small cable license fee, the primary way networks pay for their news coverage, of about $1 per year per cable subscriber. DirecTV pays CNN about $12 per year and MSNBC $8.
"DirecTV's decision follows recent revelations of collusion between Big Tech companies and Democrat officials to label conservative speech as 'misinformation' and censor it," wrote the senators, likely referring to Elon Musk's recent Twitter files that released internal dealings between the social media platform and the Biden administration.
"The silencing of conservative speech at the request of government officials is a direct assault on free speech and a threat to democracy."
In their letter, the senators note that DirecTV now has deplatformed two of the top three conservative news networks. One America News Network (OANN) was dropped last year.
"It has been alleged that DirecTV pays substantial sums to numerous channels that are politically left-of-center, even when those channels have substantially lower ratings than Newsmax," the senators wrote.
"And, it has been alleged that DirecTV refused to pay any net sums whatsoever to Newsmax — and expressly stated that it never would pay any net sums to Newsmax — even though explicitly liberal stations with substantially fewer viewers were receiving millions of dollars from DirecTV."
The senators asked the companies to answer a number of questions, including:
- Did DirecTV, AT&T, or TPG communicate with any federal, state, or local government officials regarding the decisions to drop Newsmax or OANN?
- Did government officials make any threats or promise any inducements to pressure DirecTV, AT&T, or TPG to drop Newsmax or OANN?
The senators also requested that the companies turn over records — including any communications with the White House, Democrat lawmakers, or Democrat campaign committees — related to DirecTV's decisions to drop Newsmax and OANN.
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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