The accusations of conservative voices being silenced are in the headlines once again. This time, the debate is over DIRECTV removing Newsmax, a conservative-leaning news network, from its lineup.
The ouster comes as Newsmax has grown to become the 4th highest-rated cable newschannel in the United States.
This is not the first time a conservative outlet has been silenced. A year ago, DIRECTV dropped the One America News Network.
Newsmax Media CEO says this was clearly intentional. "We were targeted because we're conservatives and they eliminated us and One America last year because they wanted to remove conservative viewpoints and close them down," Christopher Ruddy tells CBN News.
DIRECTV said the following in a statement: "On multiple occasions, we made it clear to Newsmax that we wanted to continue to offer the network, but ultimately Newsmax's demands for rate increases would have led to significantly higher costs that we would have to pass on to our broad customer base..."
Ruddy says that's patently false and claims that by taking away 13 million fewer homes it's all about putting Newsmax out of business. "There are 22 liberal news channels that DIRECTV still continues to carry on their system," Ruddy explains. "All of those channels get fees more than Newsmax was asking and most of the channels have much lower ratings."
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While DIRECTV added, "The First," a conservative commentary outlet featuring Bill O'Reilly, Capitol Hill Republicans still want answers.
"You're going to see action taken because we believe it's responsible to allow everybody to have a choice of what news they want to listen to and hear," Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy said. "It really comes down to a free speech matter."
GOP Senators sent a letter this week to AT&T, the parent company of DIRECTV, demanding a response to 18 detailed requests including whether DIRECTV directly or indirectly consulted or engaged in, "any communication with any federal, state, or local government officials" regarding the decision to drop Newsmax.
That is a relevant question considering how House Democrats sent a letter to cable and satellite providers in 2021 pressuring them to stop carrying Newsmax and others saying, "some purported news outlets have long been misinformation rumor mills... misinformation on TV has led to our current polluted information environment that radicalizes individuals to commit seditious acts and rejects public health best practices..."
Some lawmakers see this as a covert 'my way or the highway' push by liberal politicians. "Will The Weather Channel be canceled next if they refuse to bow to the left's altar of climate change?" Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado asked on the House Floor this week.
Troy Miller, president of the National Religious Broadcasters, says Newsmax also often carries a faith-friendly message, so something smells fishy. "We just see this more and more, the weaponizing of government," Miller tells CBN News. "So we're asking, 'is that what happened with Newsmax here?' What's going on behind the scenes?"
Beyond that, Miller calls on Christians to look deeper into what's happening. "Christians have to realize what's going on here is a real clash of worldviews," Miller explains. "It's time for Christians to step up and take back this media landscape...I think that the secular left really leaning socialist kind of worldview realizes if it doesn't silence the church, the Christian worldview, then they're never going to win. So, I think we're right in the crosshairs."
Newsmax knows that feeling of being caught in the crosshairs. They are not giving up the fight. "I think there's a lot at stake because if they can get away with closing down one of the highest-rated cable news channels, what else are they going to do," Ruddy tells CBN News.
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