Rep. McCarthy Promises Congressional Hearings Over DirecTV’s Decision to Remove Newsmax
After conservative news network Newsmax found itself abruptly stripped from the channel lineup on AT&T’s DirecTV, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy confirmed to Newsmax’s Sean Spicer that he found the situation “very concerning” and said during the interview that he pledged to hold congressional hearings regarding the matter.
While discussing this issue with Spicer on his program “Spicer & Company” Monday, McCarthy stated “you’re going to see action taken, because we believe it’s responsible to allow everybody to have a choice of what news they want to listen to.” This action by AT&T shocked cable viewers last week, especially since it was rated as the 4th highest cable news channel boasting an audience of roughly 25 million viewers.
"NEWSMAX should not be treated any differently based upon them being a conservative news outlet," says @SpeakerMcCarthy.
"This is very concerning to me and I hope we get this corrected." pic.twitter.com/t6YHqBda8W
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) January 30, 2023
“It really comes down to a free speech matter,” McCarthy Continued. “Newsmax should never be punished simply because they’re a conservative news outlet.”
While the call to cut Newsmax from the channel lineup was blamed on cost cutting by DirecTV, this has made many conservatives nervous since last April, explicitly conservative network One America News was also removed during a time when AT&T was pressured by congressional Democrats to drop the network for ‘disinformation.’
According to Newsmax, “DirecTV refused to negotiate with Newsmax on a fair price for fees, telling the network it would never pay any license fee.”
Newsmax pointed at that every other cable news network actually gets paid fees, including CNN which has been suffering from a historic and embarrassingly large drop in overall viewership for years.
Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, said that DirecTV’s decision was essentially “political discrimination” and “a blatant act of censorship.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he finds the deplatforming of NEWSMAX "very concerning," promising Congress would hold hearings about the matter soon. https://t.co/YS2rgtCJai pic.twitter.com/RaW4m0nC7F
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) January 31, 2023
House Republicans Respond
So far, forty Republicans in the House, including popular conservatives such as Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, and Ronny Jackson have signed a letter to AT&T accusing DirecTV of “actively working to limit conservative viewpoints on its system.”
“This is extremely concerning for Members of Congress because it suppresses political discourse and hamstrings our ability to connect with our constituents,” the letter read.
Republicans promised to look into “the extent to which House Democrats and officials in federal office colluded with private companies to limit, restrict, and circumvent First Amendment rights.”
Representative Elise Stefanik, who is the current House Republican Conference Chair, also signed the letter and later posted to her Twitter account “it would be unacceptable to de-platform Newsmax, a popular news channel that many of my constituents in #NY21 depend on for news.”
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) January 25, 2023
Senator Rick Scott of Florida also responded to this issue last week.
“We’ve got to get to the bottom of this,” said Scott. “This censorship by companies like AT&T of conservative voices, [like] what Google does, what Facebook does, what Elon Musk put out about what Twitter did, this has got to stop.
Sen. Scott continued “We need to hold hearings here, we need to get to the bottom of this. I’m going to do everything I can. They already got rid of another conservative network earlier, sometime last year, now Newsmax. That’s what they’re trying to do, they’re trying to shut down our voices, and we’ve got to fight for this.”
Rick Scott calls for congressional hearings into DirecTV dropping Newsmax
(Note: The US is currently on track to default on its debt without congressional action) pic.twitter.com/mKteAg3Vrn
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) January 26, 2023
Not a Positive Trend
Within the last several years, conservatives have been vindicated over their concerns that Big Tech and the US government, as well as popular media outlets, colluded together to either spread Democrat-led narratives such as the bogus Russia-collusion conspiracy to undermine the Trump White House or worked in tandem to censor opposing voices.
Currently, there is a GOP led bill being pushed by Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio, which would effectively ban federal agencies from working directly with Big Tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter after it was discovered that the FBI was working with both social media platforms to censor online conversations regarding the controversial Hunter Biden Laptop story.
“The collusion between bureaucrats and Big Tech has gone on for far too long,” stated Jordan. “Government agencies shouldn’t censor the free speech of Americans.”
The bill which is being called “The Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act” would prevent federal officials from using their authority, “including contracting, grant making, rule making, licensing, permitting, investigatory, or enforcement actions —to promote the censorship of lawful speech or advocate that a third party or private entity censor speech.”
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