DirecTV has dropped Newsmax, a right-wing TV network, from its channel lineup over a carriage fee dispute.
In a statement, DirecTV said it wanted to “continue to offer the network,” but the channel’s demands for carriage fee increases would have led to “significantly higher costs that we would have to pass on to our broad customer base.”
Newsmax disappeared from the lineup early Tuesday morning, affecting 13 million customers who use DirecTV’s satellite service, DirecTV Stream and U-Verse.
“We continually evaluate the most relevant programming to provide our customers and expect to fill this available channel with new content,” DirecTV said. Newsmax noted it offers its feed for free on its website, on YouTube and on multiple streaming platforms such as Roku, so viewers with DirecTV service will still be able to watch. Other carriers also continue to carry Newsmax.
DirecTV announced Thursday that “The First,” a conservative opinion and commentary TV network, will replace Newsmax in the coming days. “The First” is a four-year-old streaming network that has shows from former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly and former One America News host Liz Wheeler.
In response to getting the boot, Newsmax accused DirecTV of bias and censorship.
“This is a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax,” CEO Christopher Ruddy said in a statement that was posted on Newsmax’s website. “The most extreme liberal channels, even with tiny ratings, get fees from AT&T’s DirecTV, but Newsmax and [One American News] need to be deplatformed.”
Former President Donald Trump also responded, writing on his Truth Social platform that it’s a “big blow to the Republican Party, and to America itself.”
Last year, OAN, the right-wing conspiracy channel favored by Trump, was also dropped by DirecTV — because of its promotion of misinformation, not because of a carriage fee dispute.
The move was a significant blow to the fringe outlet because about 90% of the channel’s revenue came from subscriber fees paid by AT&T-owned platforms, which had included DirecTV until it was sold to TPG last year.
Through the years, OAN has promoted conspiracy theories and outright lies on a number of issues, including the results of the 2020 presidential election and the coronavirus pandemic. Trump favored the network because it was willing to advance his election misinformation.