- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 7, 2023

DirecTV says it is disappointed that it no longer carries Newsmax and that its rift with Newsmax stemmed from a financial spat, rejecting claims it dropped the conservative news outlet for political reasons.

“Our differences with Newsmax are economic, not political or ideological,” the video programming distributor said in a statement posted to its website. “Newsmax made unreasonable demands that would force DIRECTV customers to fund the network’s shift from a free nationwide streaming service to one that will require a pay TV subscription. Since we would not agree to Newsmax’s demand to pay them tens of millions of dollars in licensing fees, DIRECTV was no longer permitted by Newsmax to air its content.”

The decision to drop Newsmax on Jan. 24 sparked a furor among conservatives. Newsmax went dark after DirecTV dropped another right-wing channel, One America News Network (OANN), in early 2022, and Republicans are generally concerned about the censorship of conservative views.

Senate Republicans who are unsatisfied with DirecTV’s decision have demanded documents from DirecTV and its parent companies by Feb. 15. They want to know if any government official pressured them to drop the channel and if left-of-center networks have received more favorable treatment.

DirecTV said it is “disappointed by Newsmax’s position” and would welcome it back.

“We prefer Newsmax had never left and remain interested in bringing Newsmax back under the right financial terms,” it said.

Newsmax responded to DirecTV by saying it seeks a modest fee of about $1 per subscriber. 

It accused DirecTV of inflating the amount the channel seeks and says it is being singled out for unfair treatment.

DirecTV has insisted that Newsmax, the 4th highest-rated cable news channel, is not eligible for any license fees. Meanwhile DirecTV pays at least 22 liberal-leaning news channels all fees, and most higher fees than Newsmax seeks — even though these channels typically have low ratings,” the channel said. “DirecTV is engaging in a blatant act of political discrimination in [an] effort to censor Newsmax.”

Newsmax said it is open to negotiations with DirecTV, but right now there are no talks underway.

“Despite their claims, DirecTV has yet to respond to our last offer made two weeks ago,” the channel said.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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