A group of top Republican Senate lawmakers sent a letter to DirecTV executives on Wednesday demanding the satellite service explain its decision to axe the conservative news channel Newsmax from its airwaves. The letter accused the satellite giant of engaging in political censorship on behalf of far-left Democrats.
“DirecTV’s decision follows recent revelations of collusion between Big Tech companies and Democrat officials to label conservative speech as ‘misinformation’ and censor it,” they wrote. “The silencing of conservative speech at the request of government officials is a direct assault on free speech and a threat to democracy.”
The letter was written by Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas and shared first with The Hill,
DirecTV dropped Newsmax last week, less than a year after the company took the conservative One America News Network (OANN) off its listings. In March, Lee and Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley sent a letter to DirecTV’s parent company, AT&T, that alleged the telecom giant’s chairman was prioritizing personal interests over the company’s fiduciary obligations to shareholders.
“These facts raise serious questions about the role of political influence in DirecTV’s programming decisions,” the pair of lawmakers wrote, “as well as whether AT&T’s Chairman has allowed personal financial considerations to influence his oversight.”
Recently re-elected Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel condemned DirecTV’s final decision to axe Newsmax from its channel lineup in a statement Wednesday.
“DirecTV’s decision to censor Newsmax — the fourth-highest rated program on cable TV — is a slap in the face to voters who pay the network’s bills,” McDaniel said. “The fact that DirecTV continues to support and pay full fees for smaller, hard-left networks shows that this is yet another instance of clear bias against conservatives.”
While Newsmax will be stripped from DirecTV customers, the California-based provider announced last week that it is adding to its lineup The First, a conservative network featuring prominent right-leaning pundits who include Dana Loesch and Buck Sexton.
“DirecTV values different viewpoints and perspectives and will always work to preserve expansive choice among a wide variety of entertainment and information services to appeal to the unique tastes and interests of our diverse customer base,” Rob Thun, DirecTV’s chief content officer, said in a press release. “As we’ve successfully done with other emerging channels, we look forward to helping The First continue to expand its audience reach, while constantly ensuring that our customers receive a strong value.”
According to The Hill, DirecTV representatives “made it clear to Newsmax that we wanted to continue to offer the network,” but cited network demands for rate increases DirecTV says it found unsustainable.
Senate lawmakers gave DirecTV until Feb. 15 to answer several questions about its decision to cancel Newsmax.