- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 25, 2023

On Tuesday evening, the Newsmax TV cable network was dropped by AT&T‘s DirecTV from its channel lineup in what can only be viewed as the latest attempt to censor conservative voices.

DirecTV, which made $2.7 billion in profit last year, argued that it’s trying to cut costs and refused to pay Newsmax the cable licensing fee it needs to monetize the news network. DirecTV’s argument goes that if it pays Newsmax to be carried, it will have to raise the rates on its customers.

Newsmax is the fourth highest-rated cable news channel in the country and a top 20 cable channel overall, watched by 25 million Americans on cable alone. Newsmax will lose access to 13.5 million homes as a result of being dropped by DirecTV.

In the meantime, DirecTV airs 22 lower-rated liberal channels, and all of them are getting paid. This includes Vice Media, which receives a cable fee (again, Newsmax receives none), despite having one-fifth of Newsmax’s audience. To note, the same people who sit on DirecTV’s board of directors also sit on Vice Media’s board of directors.

The Washington Times contacted DirecTV to ask why it is paying Vice Media but refuses to pay Newsmax. Our inquiries went unanswered.

But let’s put these so-called business decisions aside. This was clearly a political one.

A month after the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee questioned TV carriers’ decision to air Fox News, One America News Network (OANN) and Newsmax, accusing the right-leaning outlets of serving as “misinformation rumor mills and conspiracy theory hotbed that produce content that leads to real harm.”

Last year, DirecTV booted the pro-Trump OANN from its lineup, refusing to renew its contract, prompting a lawsuit and letter from six Republican attorneys general  claiming DirecTV was bowing to pressure from “powerful left-wing voices.” As conservative media outlets get picked off one by one, Republican lawmakers lose avenues to speak to their voters, and their constituents, a way to find news not tainted with liberal bias.

Newsmax’s cancellation is prompting similar calls.

“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,” Rep. Wesley Hunt wrote in a letter to DirecTV and its owners, AT&T and TPG Capital, co-signed by 41 other Republican lawmakers this week.

But that’s the goal, isn’t it?

As Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files” exposed, Big Tech was actively working with Democrats in Congress and within the Biden administration to censor and de-platform conservative voices. During the 2020 election cycle, Google routed Republican emails to “spam” at a rate of approximately 820% of the rate of similar Democratic emails, prompting a lawsuit from the Republican National Committee.

Facebook’s employees and bosses “have hotly debated whether and how to restrain right-wing publishers,” a Wall Street Journal investigation found in 2021. David Bozell, president of ForAmerica, has detailed in our pages how the censor group NewsGuard, which rates websites’ “credibility,” has put multiple conservative organizations on notice for being guilty of spreading “misinformation” (as defined by the left, of course).

“NewsGuard’s mission is not to elevate journalism or advance the First Amendment,” Mr. Bozell wrote in The Washington Times last year. “The organization, instead, uses an insidious ‘credibility’ score to scare away prospective advertisers from conservative websites. Who wants to advertise on a fake news site, right? At least, that’s the thinking. NewsGuard also offers a handy censorship tool in the form of a web browser extension that alerts users to the credibility score of sites, to dissuade readers from spending time on conservative sites.”

There’s a long pattern of conservative voices being throttled by Big Tech and woke corporations at the behest of the left. We welcome the new select subcommittee formed by Republicans in the House to combat the “government weaponization” of Democrats actively influencing corporations to censor conservatives.

It’s real, and it’s still happening.

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