DirecTV blasts Newsmax for pushing ‘inaccurate and misleading’ attacks after the right-wing network was dropped
(CNN) — All niceties have been thrown out the window as DirecTV finds itself ensnared in an ugly carriage dispute with Newsmax.
The satellite carrier, which refuses to buckle to pressure and pay millions of dollars to broadcast the network’s low-rated programming, unleashed on the right-wing talk channel on Tuesday.
In a letter sent to prominent Jewish Newsmax supporters who had expressed concern about the matter, DirecTV effectively accused the network of waging a dishonest pressure campaign against the company that mischaracterized a run-of-the-mill carriage dispute as a nefarious act of anti-conservative censorship.
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“Put simply, this is a typical business dispute that has nothing to do with ideology, politics or censorship — despite unfounded accusations to the contrary by Newsmax, its CEO, its commentators and others,” DirecTV said.
At the center of the dispute: Newsmax has demanded DirecTV pay millions in carriage fees to continue including the channel in its lineup. DirecTV has refused, saying that it does not want to pass on added costs to its subscribers for a channel that a small percentage of viewers actually watch. DirecTV has also balked at paying for the same content that streams to users for free on other platforms, such as Roku.
But Newsmax — and Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill — have advanced a wholly different narrative, one unsupported by the facts in the case. They’ve accused DirecTV — which just added another right-wing talk channel to its lineup — of censoring conservative voices.
Newsmax, led by Chris Ruddy, who is well-connected in GOP circles, has in recent weeks used its platform and political power to pressure DirecTV into paying up.
DirecTV said that it found such behavior “troubling,” calling out Newsmax for promoting “inaccurate and misleading information” about the dispute as it publishes an endless stream of content targeting the satellite carrier.
“In our view these efforts are obscuring facts in pursuit of Newsmax’s own commercial interests,” DirecTV said, “not elucidating the news.”
Newsmax did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday evening.
However, the letter from DirecTV comes as Republicans on Capitol Hill continue to hint that they will hold a hearing about the matter. GOP Rep. Bryon Donalds, a House Oversight Committee member, told Newsmax this week that Republicans are “definitely looking into” holding a hearing.
“We obviously have an issue with a lot of media companies silencing conservative thought and conservative speech,” Donalds said, “and the one thing we’re committed to is doing everything we can to put an end to it.”