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Newsmax Gets Big Win, But Threat of Liberal Censorship Looms Large

Posted on Tuesday, April 4, 2023
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by Andrew Abbott
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17 Comments
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AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott

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Late last month, the Newsmax television network announced it had reached an agreement with DirecTV and will return to the airwaves soon, marking the end of an acrimonious two months in which the satellite broadcaster faced criticism over what some were calling censorship of conservative voices. But even in light of this apparently positive development, the threat of liberal censorship in media is only continuing to grow.

Newsmax was removed from DirecTV on January 25 of this year following weeks of stalled negotiations. From the onset of the removal, DirecTV consistently asserted that there was no political motivation for any of its actions. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Rob Thun, chief content officer for TV for DirecTV, said, “It’s a free market. Our decision is based on economics, not political ideology.”

However, the details of the short-lived breakup between Newsmax and DirecTV call that assertion into question.

DirecTV has carried Newsmax since 2014. Throughout this period, DirecTV never actually compensated Newsmax for hosting their content – the channel was airing for free.

This is not uncommon for newly formed and smaller channels. Prominent legacy networks like CNN and MSNBC are paid a “carriage” fee for letting cable providers carry their content. Newsmax argued that it had grown its viewership and network by a significant enough margin to be compensated $1 per subscriber.

According to Nielsen ratings, Newsmax averages 184,000 viewers during prime-time hours. While this is significantly lower than the 2.4 million viewers Fox News draws or the 735,000 that CNN draws, Newsmax has had several programs beat CNN in overall ratings and key demographics.

Additionally, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy points out that DirecTV provides carriage fees to 23 liberal-leaning channels, many of which have as many or even far fewer viewers than Newsmax.

For example, in 2022, CNBC averaged 209,000 prime-time viewers, and Fox Business averaged 224,000 viewers. While Bloomberg does not reveal its ratings, they are known to be significantly lower than Newsmax.

Despite this, all of these networks enjoy a carriage fee.

DirecTV defenders have argued that networks like CNBC and Bloomberg have more established brands than Newsmax. Additionally, NBCUniversal owns CNBC, which sells its channels as one package, giving them more leverage to demand carriage fees.

Yet the media’s ongoing history of de-platforming conservative-oriented networks, apps, and communities makes it difficult not to see a political dimension to DirecTV targeting Newsmax.

The decision to remove Newsmax comes after DirecTV de-platformed One America News Network amid heavy protests from liberals claiming that the network was too favorable to former president Donald Trump. DirecTV ultimately removed the channel – again citing its “low ratings” as the rationale. Most other cable providers followed suit.

Republican leaders have blasted the moves as blatant censorship of conservatives. In a statement, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called DirecTV’s decision “a slap in the face to the voters who pay the network’s bills.” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy also criticized DirecTV, hinting that the company could face a congressional hearing over the decision.

In a February letter to DirecTV executives, four Republican Senators asked the company to preserve records related to their removal of Newsmax. “We are deeply disturbed by DirecTV’s recent decision to drop the conservative news network Newsmax,” they wrote.

Amid this mounting pressure, DirecTV reversed course and announced a deal with Newsmax on March 22.

But despite this victory for conservatives, DirecTV’s actions are part of an alarming broader censorship campaign by the left. Even conservative books are routinely removed from Amazon’s digital shelves and hidden by search engines.

On the digital front, liberals successfully pressured tech giants into deplatforming the conservative social media app Parler after January 6, 2021. The app was soon removed from the Amazon, Apple, and Google stores, making it all but impossible to use.

The push to censure conservative platforms is not new, and stretches all the way back to the early days of talk radio. Liberals spent years attempting to manipulate federal law to silence talk radio networks once personalities like Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham began rising to prominence.

Newsmax may have won this battle, but the decades-old liberal war against conservative voices shows no sign of relenting any time soon.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.

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Rick L.
Rick L.
1 year ago

All conservatives need to start banding / working together, a lot more. I just can’t help but think, that if even 1/4 of everyone that voted for PRESIDENT TRUMP, (conservatives) just for starters were to DUMP EVERY LIBERAL BUSINESS (or any other organization) that tried to censor, infringe, or otherwise mess with or suppress conservatives, we would make an impact. Then we work on increasing our numbers to the point that we could really make an impact every time there is ANY type of an infringement, WE COULD JUST CALL IT A CALL TO ACTION. We have to stop those CRIMINALS / LIBERALS from destroying this country or all future generations are in serious trouble.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

Have to ID Censorship sources & file charges etc to Deter
Or face again.
Rerun 2016, 2020.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

We need a Counter Censorship Law Group to combat this nationwide

Raydoyle seattlewa
Raydoyle seattlewa
1 year ago

We need to stop using the word liberal. These are Democrats and or Leftists.

They believe in fascism and dictatorships.

PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

Newsmax was beating the H out of FOX, in terms of ratings, in certain hours of the day. Rupert Murdock was deeply concerned about what would happen, if the trend continued at the rate FOX was loosing audience share during these time periods. More and more of the old FOX audience had begun to notice the shift in how FOX covers or doesn’t cover certain stories that ran counter to the new, more progressive agenda FOX has adopted since Lachlan Murdock took over from his father years ago. So no doubt FOX was thrilled when Verizon yanked Newsmax off of their Direct TV service, which keeping 22 other news channels, all left leaning and charging more on air. Now FOX has to once again be concerned about their eroding market share with Newsmax back on the air.

Yes, the left does intend to try and wipe out any voice that challenges their narrative of “progressive” values. That’s what happens in all leftist countries. Only the official party narrative is broadcast to the public to ensure the public never gets the whole truth behind anything the government is doing. Neither Newsmax nor FOX should think the danger is over. The left just regroups and comes back to strike again from another angle.

Ann S
Ann S
1 year ago

He who controls the press controls the world.
Leftist are censuring everything from newspapers, tv outlets, social media and people who speak out against their platform. Think parents at schoolboard meetings. Think of those of other minds than the left, think January 6th. And most of all think of the indictment of President Trump.
Destruction of America. This is a coup to total dominance.

Bob L.
Bob L.
1 year ago

A year ago, DirecTv succeeded in dropping One America News Network which is still in business but you have to go online to access it.

On another issue; This past weekend the CMT awards were held and during the program, Kelsea Ballerini performed a number with drag queen dancers and a rainbow light show as backup. I looked up who owns CMT and guess what – Paramount Media Networks owns it and MTV is now it’s
“parent network”. As you may be aware, Communist China has a lot of “ownership” throughout our entertainment industry these days.

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
1 year ago

Marxist ideas are anti-science, anti-common sense, and anti-God. That’s why they have to shut down all opposing ideas because THEIRS won’t hold water!

edward
edward
1 year ago

stop calling it/them liberal, there is nothing “liberal” about them. they are totalitarians which include: marxists, communists, socialists, fascists, and many others they are all cousins of the same totalitarian ideology.

Sharon Ormsby
Sharon Ormsby
1 year ago

Still didn’t put it back on in our area and didn’t put any other conservative channels, such as religious channels on either. They still teach CRT crap to their people, so what good does it really do?

DenvilleSr
DenvilleSr
1 year ago

Corporate leadership has somehow become convinced that their companies need to champion woke liberal agendas. Budweiser Beer now has a transgender spokes-she/her. Wow! What happened to the woodchucks chucking wood and the Clydesdale horses? I’m waiting for Disney’s Minnie Mouse to have an epiphany and announce his pronouns as he/him and be renamed Manny Mouse. Liberal Land wants us to believe that transgenders know when they are still in middle school or even primary school that they have been born with the wrong body parts, based upon how they feel. The medical industry believes that gender affirming surgery or meds are just the thing for 11 year olds who are having doubts about their gender identity. And corporate America is championing this, selling it like it is Cap’n Crunch. So it is hardly a surprise that TV service providers are into the game. If you can eliminate competitive thoughts from the Internet, airwaves and print media (what’s left of it), you can shape world opinion. The name of the game is banish prohibited thought.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase
1 year ago

Seems logical to have some performance guidelines for these browser giants who essentially control the internet. They need clearly stated policies to which they adhere. Combining forces to stifle conservative voices is a misuse of the free internet. Rather than to provide a service they have become big brother overseers. We essentially have a certain brand of politicians in charge of that media.

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