U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz is among more than 40 House Republicans fighting to prevent the censoring of a conservative news outlet.
The Fort Walton Beach Republican and the others issued a letter to DirecTV on Friday, arguing for the satellite TV provider to not “de-platform” Newsmax, according to The Washington Examiner.
The lawmakers wrote to CEO John Stankey of AT&T, DirecTV’s parent company, and DirecTV CEO William Morrow, noting that congressional Democrats and the Biden White House worked with telecom firms to “de-platform, de-monetize or otherwise limit the reach of viewpoints they oppose and classify them as ‘misinformation.’”
“We are deeply concerned about this un-democratic assault on free speech.”
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The letter recalled that two years ago, Democrats petitioned AT&T and DirecTV to drop Fox News, One America News Network, and Newsmax. A year later, OANN was out.
Now, Gaetz and the other lawmakers added, DirecTV is denying Newsmax cable fees on a “fair and equitable basis.”
As an example, the network carries 11 liberal outlets, including one run by a member of DirecTV’s board. Yet that channel, Vice News, receives more money from DirecTV than Newsmax, even though its audience is “a fraction” of Newsmax’s, they wrote.
“This is extremely concerning … because it suppresses political discourse and hamstrings our ability to connect with our constituents,” they added.
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The GOP members subtly reminded AT&T and DirecTV that they will conduct “extensive oversight” of how Democrats colluded with major telecom and media companies “to limit, restrict, and circumvent First Amendment rights.”
To start that process, they asked DirecTV for the ratings for Fox, OANN, and Newsmax, as well as those 11 liberal channels, and data on the fees paid to each.
In all, 42 lawmakers signed the letter. Besides Gaetz, those from Florida included Reps. Brian Mast, Greg Steube, Byron Donalds, Maria Elvira Salazar, Michael Waltz, and Anna Paulina Luna.
Newsmax’s main headquarters is in West Palm Beach.