DirecTV confirmed on Wednesday that Newsmax was being removed from its platform. The company said that Newsmax had requested rate increases that would have led to higher prices for customers. DirecTV said that anyone can watch Newsmax free online and on streaming platforms like Amazon Fire and Roku.
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has condemned AT&T's decision to remove the channel from its DirecTV and U-Verse services, calling it a "blatant act of political discrimination and censorship."
Newsmax said the move will block more than 13 million customers from accessing its content.
Newsmax suggested that their supporters switch their pay TV, cellphone, and other services from AT&T and DirecTV to other companies that don't discriminate against political beliefs.
AT&T, which used to own DirecTV, referred questions back to the satellite-TV provider. AT&T sold a large stake in the business to private-equity investor TPG in 2021 under a deal that gives both companies operational control of the service.
"DIRECTV is a separate company with its own board and leadership team," an AT&T spokesman said.
DirecTV said that it had made it clear to Newsmax on multiple occasions that it wanted to continue to offer the network. It added that it continually evaluates the most relevant programming to provide its customers and expects to fill the available channel with new content.
Last week, some Republican members of congress sent a letter to the heads of AT&T, DirecTV and TPG urging against removal of Newsmax. They claimed that DirecTV was "actively working to limit conservative viewpoints on its system."
In its response, DirecTV rebutted that idea and highlighted Newsmax's push for fees and said the network's decision to eliminate its free online stream will cut off more viewers than DirecTV. A year ago, DirecTV said it would drop conservative news channel OAN following a routine internal review.
"Under this new model, who will be responsible for de-platforming? Certainly not DirecTV," the company said in a letter. DirecTV went on to say that Newsmax's average audience is only 101,000 households, according to Nielsen data.
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