AT&T’s DirecTV cuts Newsmax; Trump cuts DirecTV

by WorldTribune Staff, January 26, 2023

DirecTV at midnight on Tuesday cut Newsmax’s signal, marking the second time in the past year a conservative channel has been wiped from the AT&T-owned satellite TV service.

DirecTV cut One America News (OAN) in April.

“This is a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax,” Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax said.

“The most extreme liberal channels, even with tiny ratings, get fees from AT&T’s DirecTV, but Newsmax and OAN need to be deplatformed.”

Former President Donald Trump said in a Truth Social post after the move by DirecTV that he would be “dropping all association with AT&T and DIRECTV, and I have plenty.”

DirecTV claimed it was cutting Newsmax as a “cost-cutting” measure and would never pay Newsmax a cable license fee.

Newsmax, however, was the 4th highest-rated cable news channel in the nation, a top 20 cable news channel overall, and watched by 25 million Americans, according to Nielsen.

Newsmax noted: “DirecTV pays cable license fees to all top 75 cable channels and to all 22 liberal news and information channels it carries. Almost all of these channels are paid hefty license fees significantly more than Newsmax was seeking — and despite the fact that most of the channels have much lower ratings than Newsmax.”

As the news was spreading that AT&T DirecTV planned to deplatform Newsmax, 41 Republican congressmen, led by Rep. Wesley Hunt of Texas, sent a letter to the CEOs of AT&T, DirecTV, and hedge fund TPG Capital, the minority operator of the satellite system, warning of hearings.

“If Newsmax is removed from DirecTV, in less than a year House Republicans will have lost two of the three cable news channels that reach conservative voters on a platform that primarily serves conservative-leaning areas of the country,” Hunt stated in his letter.

AT&T DirecTV’s decision to drop OAN and Newsmax followed a February 2021 letter written by Democrat Rep. Anna Eshoo, and then-Rep. Jerry McNerney, both of California, demanding that cable and satellite TV providers explain their alleged role in the “spread of dangerous misinformation” by carrying conservative networks.

After the Eshoo and McNerney letter, in April 2022, AT&T removed OAN from DirecTV.

About the same time, the Biden administration approved AT&T’s proposed $43 billion merger of its WarnerMedia division with Discovery. AT&T continues to own 70% of DirecTV, but in 2021 added TPG Capital as its partner with a 30% stake in 2021.

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