GOP senators seek answers on DirecTV decision to drop Newsmax
Newsmax contends that the license fees it demanded were below market value and that the provider was willing to pay greater fees to other outlets with lower ratings.
Senate Republican are investigating a recent decision from DirecTV to no longer carry conservative news outlet Newsmax, fearing the network made the decision in an act of political censorship.
DirecTV announced last week that it would remove the channel from its lineup as a "cost cutting" measure so as to avoid paying a license fee, which they say the network demanded. The network has denounced the decision as a "blatant act of political discrimination." The cable provider removed conservative outlet One America News last year.
Now, some Republicans are demanding answers from DirecTV over the decision. In a letter to DirecTV, GOP Sens. Ted Cruz, Texas; Lindsey Graham, S.C.; Mike Lee, Utah; and Tom Cotton, Ark.; asserted that "It appears that this decision may be the latest example of big business suppressing politically disfavored speech at the behest of liberal Democrats," according to the Washington Times.
"Congress and the public have a right to know the extent to which DirecTV's decision to drop Newsmax was politically motivated, including whether the company succumbed to pressure from administration officials or Democrats in Congress," they continued.
The letter went on to address the matter of license fees, observing that "It has been alleged that DirecTV pays substantial sums to numerous channels that are politically left-of-center, even when those channels have substantially lower ratings than Newsmax. And, it has been alleged that DirecTV refused to pay any net sums whatsoever to Newsmax — and expressly stated that it never would pay any net sums to Newsmax — even though explicitly liberal stations with substantially fewer viewers were receiving millions of dollars from DirecTV."
Newsmax contends that the license fees it demanded were below market value and that the provider was willing to pay greater fees to other outlets with lower ratings. The network had not previously asked for such a fee.
DirecTV previously asserted that it wants to continue carrying the network, but could not agree to the fees it was demanding.