Republicans Want to Force AT&T to Carry Trumpy Propaganda Network
Republican lawmakers have rushed to the defense of far-right TV network Newsmax after the channel was dropped by AT&T’s DirecTV. According to the satellite television provider, the split stemmed from a carriage fee dispute that would have resulted in “significantly higher costs” and increased customer fees. The channel claims they are being wrongfully censored for their political viewpoints, and have already found allies amongst Republican lawmakers.
The party of free-market capitalism has responded to DirecTV booting Newsmax by arguing that the network should carry the Trump-loving propaganda network, financial considerations be damned. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) told Newsmax, which is still available for free on their website, that the “censorship” of conservative voices has “got to stop.”
“They’re trying to shut down our voices, and we’ve gotta fight for this,” Scott said.
House Republicans — who have prioritized petty cultural grievances over actual issues like the debt ceiling crisis — are even calling for an investigation. Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), and Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.) all called for hearings to be held, as did Scott.
More than 40 Republican lawmakers signed a letter earlier this week accusing DirecTV of “actively working to limit conservative viewpoints on its system.”
“This is extremely concerning for Members of Congress because it suppresses political discourse and hamstrings our ability to connect with our constituents,” the letter stated while requesting ratings and channel comparison data from DirecTV. The GOP promised to investigate “the extent to which House Democrats and officials in federal office colluded with private companies to limit, restrict, and circumvent First Amendment rights.” Signatories included Representatives Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Lauren Boebert (R-Col.), and Ronny Jackson (R-Texas).
House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) also signed onto the letter, and tweeted that “it would be unacceptable to de-platform Newsmax,” given that many of her constituents “depend on [the channel] for news.”
Former President Donald Trump didn’t explicitly call for congressional action, although he claimed on Truth Social Wednesday night that the “Radical Left” had “taken over the mind and soul of AT&T.”
“I, for one, will be dropping all association with AT&T and DirecTV, and I have plenty,” Trump wrote. Donald Trump Jr. echoed his father’s call for a boycott of the companies, encouraging his followers to instead sign up for the Christian cell phone company “Patriot Mobile.”
In addition to the rotating cast of lawmakers appearing on the network in the aftermath of DirecTV’s decision, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy also took the airwaves. Ruddy claimed that the situation is a “clear example of political discrimination” and reiterated Trump’s call for a boycott of AT&T and DirecTV.
Ruddy likely has full confidence that House Republicans will use their resources to tip the scales of the supposedly free market in his favor.
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