A group of Republican senators wrote a letter Wednesday to cable provider DirecTV seeking answers after the company dropped the conservative network Newsmax.
DirecTV dropped Newsmax, alleged over a cable fees dispute that the provider said “would have led to significantly higher costs that [they] would have to pass on to [their] broad customer base.” The letter addressed DirecTV’s three chief executive officers (CEO) — John Stankey, Jon Winkelried and William Morrow — requestin answers to a set of questions and communications regarding the decision by Feb. 15.
Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Michael Lee of Utah wrote the letter.
“We are deeply disturbed by DirecTV’s recent decision to drop the conservative news network Newsmax. This decision harms millions of Texans, South Carolinians, Utahns, and Arkansans and removes important viewing choices for millions of Americans across our Nation,” the letter read. “It appears that this decision may be the latest example of big business suppressing politically disfavored speech at the behest of liberal Democrats.”
I have serious concerns about DirecTV’s decision to drop Newsmax. It’s time for answers.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) February 1, 2023
The letter specifically asked for information regarding any communication with federal, state or local government officials, members of the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and whether they pressured or made “any threats” to DirecTV or its parent company, AT&T, to drop the network. (RELATED: ‘Who Is DirecTV Protecting?’: Newsmax Host Calls Out DirectTV Over End Of Service)
It further requested all documents and information between company officials referring to Newsmax, One America News Network or Fox News.
The senators cited allegations that DirecTV donates to left-of-center news stations and refuses to pay net sums to Newsmax, despite the conservative network having higher ratings. They asserted that this recent action is the latest development of Big Tech and Democratic organizations in branding conservative rhetoric as “misinformation” and allegedly censoring the material.
Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy accused DirecTV of “discrimination” and that they were only asking to earn one dollar per year for every cable news subscriber, which he argued is “extremely low.”
“This is a very dangerous moment.,” he told podcast host Todd Starnes on Tuesday. “I’m not just saying it because I own Newsmax. I’ve been in the media for almost 30 years. We are the number four top-rated cable news channel in the nation. According to Nielsen, we reached 25 million Americans. Hundreds of congressmen, senators, and other officials around the country always come on Newsmax. We’re a real news channel. We’re fair and balanced, too. We’re, as you know, we’re fair. We treat we even have liberals on occasionally and get everybody’s perspective.”