The Washington Times editorial board on Thursday called for an end to the censorship of conservative news outlets following DirecTV's decision to remove Newsmax from its lineup.
"DirecTV, which made $2.7 billion in profit last year, argued that it's trying to cut costs and refused to pay Newsmax the cable licensing fee it needs to monetize the news network," it said. "DirecTV's argument goes that if it pays Newsmax to be carried, it will have to raise the rates on its customers."
But DirecTV "airs 22 lower-rated liberal channels, and all of them are getting paid," the Times writes.
"This includes Vice Media, which receives a cable fee (again, Newsmax receives none), despite having one-fifth of Newsmax's audience. To note, the same people who sit on DirecTV's board of directors also sit on Vice Media's board of directors."
DirecTV said it cut off Newsmax because the conservative network's demands for rate increases "would have led to significantly higher costs that we would have to pass on to our broad customer base."
The Times said it contacted DirecTV to ask why it was paying Vice Media but not Newsmax.
"Our inquiries went unanswered," it said.
This is the second time in the past year AT&T has moved to cancel a conservative channel, with DirecTV deplatforming OAN in April.
Despite Newsmax being the 4th highest-rated cable news channel in the nation, a top 20 cable news channel overall, and watched by 25 million Americans on cable alone, according to Nielsen, DirecTV said it was taking the step as a "cost-cutting" measure and would never pay Newsmax a cable license fee.
"This is a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax," Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax said.
"The most extreme liberal channels, even with tiny ratings, get fees from AT&T's DirecTV, but Newsmax and OAN need to be deplatformed?" Ruddy added.
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