Former Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who left the Democratic Party last year, testified this week against the weaponization of the government against conservatives, and now has come out in a full-throated defense of Newsmax after it was censored by AT&T's DirecTV last month.
"Democracy means not just tolerating opinions we don't like, but actively defending their right to exist," Gabbard tweeted Saturday morning. "By dropping @NEWSMAX this week and OAN last year, AT&Ts DirecTV is actively censoring conservative voices and fueling the fire of divisiveness that is tearing this country apart."
Gabbard was a prominent figure to stand for freedom of speech against the weaponization of government during hearings Thursday.
DirecTV customers call toll free at 877-763-9762 to complain, demand Newsmax is returned! Oppose censorship – sign The Petition – Click Here
"We cannot be so short-sighted to thinking that silencing speech that we don't like today will not result in our own voices being silenced tomorrow," Gabbard said in her opening statement, which was also broadcast live in part on Newsmax.
"We have individuals in our government often working through their arms in the mainstream media and Big Tech doing exactly what our founders rejected, trying to control what 'We the People' are allowed to see and say under the guise of protecting us from so-called 'misinformation' or 'disinformation.'"
Newsmax is America's fourth highest-rated news network in the cable landscape and a top-20 overall channel that reaches 25 million Americans weekly, according to the Nielsen ratings.
DirecTV said it dropped the popular network due to "cost-cutting" measures, but AT&T's DirecTV carries 22 left-leaning news channels, many of which draw considerably lower ratings than Newsmax, and those channels get paid license fees.
DirecTV claimed Newsmax was demanding "excessive fees" that would amount to "tens of millions" of dollars. Newsmax denied that, saying it is seeking an approximate fee of $1 per cable subscriber per year, among the lowest requested fees in cable.
"This was never about the fees being excessive," Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy 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 recently issued a statement it wants Newsmax back on its service, but on its terms.
Consequently, Ruddy said there has been no real negotiation or no flexibility provided by DirecTV in its refusal to pay carriage fees.
Gabbard is a veteran and former Democrat representative from Hawaii who clashed often with her party and eventually left it. She has a memoir coming out Oct. 10, delivering her "full story of her electrifying break" from the Democratic Party.
"This book will share my experiences at the highest level of Democratic politics and why I can no longer call myself a Democrat,” Gabbard, 41, said in a statement Monday. "Today's Democratic Party is unrecognizable from the party I joined 20 years ago."
Actions to Take Now
1. DirecTV customers call toll free at 877-763-9762 to complain, demand Newsmax is back on air!
2. 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!
3. Go to our online petition and get more info: iWantNewsmax.com.
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