DirecTV will no longer broadcast conservative news channel Newsmax, TheWrap has confirmed.
Per a statement from the company, the move came late Tuesday as a result of an ongoing carriage fee dispute.
A DirecTV spokesperson confirmed Wednesday that as of of 11:59 p.m. the night prior, Newsmax is no longer available on DirecTV, DirecTV Stream or U-verse.
“On multiple occasions, we made it clear to Newsmax that we wanted to continue to offer the network, but ultimately Newsmax’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 spokesperson said.
Newsmax, in turn, has railed against DirecTV for the decision, with network CEO Christopher Ruddy claiming that the move was a “blatant act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax.” HE cited similar action taken against the right-wing One America News Network last year.
“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 said, according to an article posted on its website.
DirecTV’s decision to cut ties with the conservative news channel comes after two Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to several cable TV providers last year asking about their role in the “the spread of dangerous misinformation” leading up to the events on Jan. 6. The letter asked what steps the companies took prior to, on and following the November 2020 election and Jan. 6 attack to monitor, respond to and reduce the spread of disinformation. It also asked if they planned to continue carrying Fox News, OAANN and Newsmax and, if so, why.
Prior to DirecTV’s official decision to drop Newsmax, House Republicans sent a letter on Friday expressing their concern about the move being an “un-democratic assault on free speech” and claimed the company was “actively working to limit conservative viewpoints on its system.”
DirecTV argues that it honored its agreement with Newsmax beyond its initial term, giving the network nationwide access to its customers with the ability to generate significant advertising revenue at no cost. It also emphasized that anyone, including its customers, can still watch Newsmax for free via NewsmaxTV.com, YouTube.com and on multiple streaming platforms like Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Google Play.
Additionally, the company noted that it values different viewpoints and perspectives and will always work to preserve expansive choice among a wide variety of entertainment and information services.
“We continually evaluate the most relevant programming to provide our customers and expect to fill this available channel with new content,” the spokesperson added.