Conservative media figures and former President Donald Trump have weighed in after AT&T’s DirectTV cable service dropped the far right-wing Newsmax network from its channel lineup this week. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy decried the move as “a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship” in a blistering press release on the network’s website.
In a statement to CNN, DirectTV said it had hoped to keep Newsmax, one of the many conservative stations to gain prominence during the Trump administration, but the network’s demand for increased carriage fees would lead to “significantly higher costs that we would have to pass on to our broad customer base.” Newsmax is still available to stream on YouTube, Roku, and on its website.
News that the channel was poised to be dropped by DirectTV had unleashed a barrage of bombastic threats and statements of solidarity from across the conservative spectrum. In a short video shared across his social media platforms, former Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield lamented that “Newsmax may have moved toward the center but it still has some very strong conservative voices” above a banner reading “ATT ATTACKS ALL CONSERVATIVES by ATTACKING NEWSMAX.”
I stand with @NEWSMAX pic.twitter.com/MGQs4tHZp1
— Grant Stinchfield (@stinchfield1776) January 25, 2023
On his Truth Social platform, Trump criticized the move as well, claiming that “the Radical Left seems to have taken over the mind and soul of AT&T,” adding: “I, for one, will be dropping all association with AT&T and DIRECTV, and I have plenty.” And speaking with Newsmax host Rob Finnerty on Thursday, Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) went so far as to hint at congressional action over AT&T’s business decision, saying “you know, it could go so far as to have their executives come to talk to us, but, and explain this to us in terms of both the timing and the intent. It could go as far as having public hearings.”
Waltz, along with dozens of other Republican lawmakers, signed a letter to AT&T and DirectTV executives, alleging that the move to remove the channel amounted to liberal censorship of conservative media, citing DirectTV’s continued hosting of other networks, including Vice.
Shortly after dropping Newsmax from its 13 million–strong subscriber base, DirectTV announced it would be adding another conservative network, The First, to its services, saying in a press release that “DIRECTV values different viewpoints and perspectives and will always work to preserve expansive choice.” First TV features programming from former National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch, and onetime Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.