Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, sparked discussion on Thursday when he tweeted that he wanted details regarding DirecTV removing Newsmax from its platform.
“This is shady, and I have concerns. 25 million Americans watch Newsmax on cable, making it one of the top 20 cable news channels in the country. DirecTV just discontinued the program “as a “cost-cutting” effort,” according to the company “Lee started a conversation about the topic on Twitter by citing a Newsmax article.
When de-platforming OAN last year, DirecTV claimed it was doing so as a cost-cutting move.
Twenty-two leftist news channels are still available on DirecTV, many of which have low ratings but are compensated handsomely for their licenses.
As the fourth-ranked cable news channel in the U.S., Newsmax was asking for a nominal fee.
Lee also mentioned DirecTV’s statement that it “would never pay Newsmax a cable license fee.”
Then Lee retweeted Richard Grenell, a Newsmax contributor who worked for President Donald Trump in a variety of capacities as well as President George W. Bush’s U.N. spokeswoman.
“Whoa! Deplatforming Newsmax and refusing to fund a conservative news outlet while supporting other 22 liberal news outlets: @att and @directv!?” Tweets from Grenell. “House must take action. Unacceptable.”
Many conservative figures have called for boycotts of DirecTV and AT&T, which owns 75% of the satellite television provider.
Lee responded, “I tend to agree with @RichardGrenell. Unless I’m overlooking something, this is inappropriate.
Why would a major carrier preserve numerous other, less-popular (but less-conservative) news and information channels while eliminating a medium with such a sizable following? Lee queried. Wouldn’t it be worried that such a move would cost its customers?
According to him, “one can expect such behavior from time to time from (1) a monopolist, (2) one who is otherwise shielded from competition by regulatory impediments to entrance, or in some situations by means of a collusive arrangement with competitors.” Can any of those factors be at work here?
He claimed that the decision is, at best, a “disrespectful poke in the eye” to DirecTV subscribers who watch Newsmax and are “presumably in considerably higher numbers than those watching many liberal channels currently carried by DIRECTV.”
It might, at worst, be the result of “collusive agreements not to compete in this arena,” he claimed.
Twitter was buzzing with back-and-forth conversations, either supporting Lee’s decision to cut the signal or challenging Lee’s position on capitalism.
“Old-school writer” and editor Mendi Brunson seemed to support the boycott when she tweeted, “Well, I know how to cut expenditures out of my budget, too.”
Lee was accused of being inconsistent by Twitter user Clair Ellis, who wrote: “It’s a flip for a Senator to lobby one corporation on behalf of another corporation.”
No, Lee retorted.
“I need answers to serious concerns about potentially anticompetitive practices, just as I have been asking Ticketmaster this week,” said the ranking Republican on the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee.
Take These Steps to Oppose AT&T DirecTV’s Censorship:
1. If you have DirecTV, phone them at 877-763-9762 (toll-free) and tell them to put NEWSMAX back on the air or CANCEL!
If you don’t get NEWSMAX on DirecTV, you’ll have to discontinue your service, so mention this to the live operator when you call. NEWSMAX’s livestream will shortly end on other platforms.
Call AT&T if you use any of their services or products and demand that they stop censoring NEWSMAX, or you will stop using them. Call AT&T at 888-855-2338 toll-free.
2. Call your senator or representative at 202-224-3121 and demand that they stop AT&T and DirecTV from censoring right-wing media outlets like NEWSMAX.
3. Visit IWantNewsmax.com to learn more and sign our online petition.