Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., delivered a blistering rebuke of House Democrats on the Committee on Energy and Commerce for their "shocking coordinated attempt" to push DirecTV and AT&T to censor Newsmax.
"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand why AT&T and DirecTV felt pressured to comply with committee demands," Buck said in the introduction of a one-hour special order presentation on the House floor Tuesday night. "Simply put, Democrats on that committee disagreed with the content coming out of One America News Network and Newsmax, and decided they wanted them canceled.
"This is a clear case of free speech infringement and viewpoint discrimination. Government colluding with telecommunications giants should chill us all."
DirecTV says it removed OAN and Newsmax from its channel lineup as a "cost-cutting" measure. Newsmax was seeking a small cable license fee, the primary way networks pay for their news coverage, of about $1 a year per cable subscriber. DirecTV pays CNN about $12 a year and MSNBC $8.
DirecTV pays cable license fees to all top 75 cable channels and to all 22 liberal news and information channels it carries, with rates that are significantly more than Newsmax was seeking. Most of these channels have much lower ratings than Newsmax. The company has told the press and Congress it would never pay a license fee to Newsmax.
"We are facing a concerted, unabashed effort to shrink the limits of debate by corporations in an unholy alliance with political activists and their government avatars," Buck continued. "These companies have become willing prosecutors of dissent. Woke corporations are actively interposing themselves between Americans and the conversations they need to have.
"Why? Because they're afraid. Afraid that the lessons they learned at progressive universities won't stand up to objective scrutiny. Afraid that vigorous debate breeds societies of citizens, not sheep. Above all, afraid that if they cannot anoint themselves enlightened arbiters, their ideas will just have to stand on their own merits, like the rest of us."
Buck, who recently released "Crushed: Big Tech's War on Free Speech," published by Humanix Books, called on Democrats who called for the deplatforming of Newsmax and OAN to stand up for freedom of speech.
"I urge my colleagues across the aisle to rethink their desire to silence opposition," Buck continued. "The people who want to silence opponents are people who can't win debates."
Buck also called out "woke corporations" to stop the political discrimination shown in the removal of conservative voices on DirecTV.
"I urge American businesses to stiffen their spines and stand up in favor of free speech and open speech," Buck said. "We acknowledge that we may never know the exact mindset of the decision makers that decided to join hand in glove with progressives' drive to silence their opposition.
"But what we know is more than enough — Democrats asked — and DirecTV delivered. Progressives spoke up and One America News was silenced. Newsmax is now on the chopping block.
"Where does that leave us? Under the lengthening shadow of censorship? Or at the beginning of a new era, when freedom fights back? I know what side I will be on.
"Which one will you join?"
Buck's introduction for the special order before the House gave three-minute speeches to other GOP members standing for Newsmax:
Reps. Dan Bishop, R-N.C.; Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.; Ralph Norman, R-S.C.; Brian Babin, R-Texas; Bob Good, R-Va.; Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J.; Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Mike Cloud, R-Texas; Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y.; Dan Meuser, R-Pa.; Burgess Owens, R-Utah; Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo.; Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.; and Glenn Grothman, R-Wis.; Tim Burchett, R-Tenn.; Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.; and Eric Burlison, R-Mo.
"Does it feel sometimes like we're living in a crazy sci-fi movie where powerful entities and interests are trying to control what we see and what we hear and what we read, because they ultimately want to dominate what we think and how we behave," Gaetz said on the House floor.
"My fellow Americans, there is broad effort underway to deplatform, demonetize and destroy anyone who has an America First perspective. We've seen this with Newsmax."
Boebert came with her usual fire, saying "Americans are tired of cancel culture."
"Conservatives are not being treated fairly," she said. "We're the ones who are censored by Big Tech. We're the ones targeted and called domestic terrorists when moms and dads show up at school – targeted by the IRS, because our organizations have the word 'patriot' in their name.
"If you're a conservative pastor, the government persecutes you. If you're a liberal pastor, well, Joe Biden shows up to your church – whether he realizes he's there or not.
"And yet now we're faced with Newsmax — a conservative news organization followed and watched, again, by millions of Americans — and it has been removed from DirecTV.
"Newsmax is the fourth most watched news channel, but they've been removed for hyper political reasons."
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.
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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