With former President Donald Trump refusing to get back on Twitter and instead posting on his Truth Social account which has very little reach (4.87 million followers compared to 88 million on Twitter), many are wondering how he will get his message out for his upcoming third run at the presidency in 2024.
One of his favorite news outlets, the right-wing NEWSMAX has been in the headlines lately after DIRECTV (which had 13.5 million subscribers at the end of last year, a large number but one that is shrinking) made it clear that they will no longer carry the channel.
CNN recently did a story on some conservatives in the House of Representatives that are now calling for a public hearing on DIRECTV dropping NEWSMAX. This would be new ground as multichannel operators typically make their decision whether to carry a channel based on its cost and how popular it is with consumers.
The one exception is the media conglomerates such as Warner Bros. Discovery and Walt Disney DIS Company, who often bundle many channels together and make most cable and satellite operators take their whole array of channels—some of which aren’t popular with consumers. But NEWSMAX is an independent channel and just doesn’t have this leverage.
But with the House in Republican hands, DIRECTV may be facing a battle in the press with many Republican Representatives favoring hearings.
Rep. James Comer (R., KY) told a reporter, “I’m very concerned that there’s a pattern among a lot of the leaders in the media to censor conservatives. There’s going to be a committee that’s going to hold hearings. I don’t like this, this is having a negative impact on my Congressional District.”
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Representative Lauren Boebert (R., CO) was even more fired up when she told C-SPAN, “OAN (another Trump favored news network called One America News) was deplatformed by DIRECTV in April of 2022. So what’s next, Fox News? Will the Weather Channel be cancelled next if they refuse to bow to the left’s alter of climate change.”
Of course, to suggest that DIRECTV would kick off Fox News is preposterous. It is the most popular news channel most of the time, and OAN and NEWSMAX are tiny in comparison.
Rep. Eric Burlison (R., MO) was also recently on C-SPAN and said, “These companies choose to silence conservative speech, by first deplatforming or eliminating One America News, and now they are going after NEWSMAX.”
Responding to Rep. Comer’s and others call for hearings, he said. “I am on board now I am pushing but you can write to me as well,” said Rep. Burlison urging people to write to their Congressional representatives and ask for a hearing. “We need fairness and freedom of speech,” he said.
NEWSMAX offers its channel for free on its website and on YouTube segments. Therefore, it’s ironic that DIRECTV is claiming that NEWSMAX wants a significant monthly fee for each subscriber to packages carrying NEWSMAX if it were to sign a new contract.
With so much free content available on the Internet, it’s been increasingly difficult for cable networks to demand large rate hikes from multichannel providers. Just look at CNN+ which was taken off of the air after less than one month on the air. NEWSMAX, OAN and other independently owned channels will likely be taken off of the air, being unable to compete with free.