One year after Democrat members of Congress wrote to AT&T asking the top three conservative cable channels be removed, DirecTV, which is 70% owned by AT&T, has removed two of them, including Newsmax, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Monday.
"Democrat members wrote to the CEO of AT&T and said, 'Please throw off air Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News,'" Cruz said on the latest episode of his podcast "Verdict." "'We don't like what they're saying. We call it misinformation,' which is the Democrat code word for seeking censorship.
"So they asked the CEO of AT&T to throw them off the air."
OAN was removed from DirecTV in April 2022 when its contract expired, and Newsmax was removed this January.
DirecTV customers call toll free at 877-763-9762 to cancel/complain
"I thought that was a terrible decision," Cruz said of the OAN deplatforming. "I spoke out against it then."
Further, Cruz added, "I think in many ways that might have been a trial balloon for what they just did ... which was to throw Newsmax off the air. And so now two of the three have been deplatformed."
Cruz wrote a letter to the company as the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, cosigned by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., ranking member of the Judiciary Committee about the issue.
DirecTV has claimed both Newsmax and OAN were removed as "cost-cutting" measures at the same time the company reported profits last year of $2.7 billion.
DirecTV claimed Newsmax was demanding "excessive fees" that would cost them in the "tens of millions" of dollars.
Newsmax has denied these claims, saying it was seeking a fee of about $1 per cable subscriber per year, among the lowest fees asked for in cable, and that total amount of the deal was a fraction of "tens of millions."
"This was never about the fees being excessive," Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, said. "DirecTV's position has always been that Newsmax of all cable news channels should never get any cable fee whatsoever, not one penny. "
DirecTV continues to carry 22 left-leaning news channels, many with much lower ratings than Newsmax. And all of those channels get license fees.
Cruz noted some channels get large fees and some get lower based on viewership, and some get very small viewership even pay the satellite or cable companies to carry them.
DirecTV's CEO presented Cruz with the company's side of the story, Cruz said, and Cruz responded he only wants to get to the truth. He has told the company to preserve any correspondence from Democrat lawmakers or the White House asking conservative networks be taken off the air.
DirecTV is free to air or not air any channels it chooses, advocates on the right have noted, but when parts of the government get involved in the process, it becomes a First Amendment issue.
"We know from the Twitter Files that this White House is quite eager to silence people," Cruz said. And while he does want to get to the truth, Cruz said, "I also told them straight out the outcome I'd like to see: I'd like to see Newsmax back on the air."
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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