Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., on Tuesday urged DirecTV to come back to the negotiation table over deplatforming Newsmax, but Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has big questions about the satellite provider's willingness.
"We've always been open to negotiation and talks, and it's just disappointing that they're unwilling to change their position," Ruddy told "The Record With Greta Van Susteren" on Wednesday night.
His comments come a week after DirecTV removed Newsmax from its television platform — and about two years after progressive Democrats brazenly pressured Big Tech to deplatform the three leading conservative networks. (One, OAN, was axed by DirecTV last year.)
"It makes you wonder if there's something bigger behind this that they're so inflexible," Ruddy said.
There has been a "targeted" attack on silencing conservative dissent of liberal political views, he added.
"It was a political decision," Ruddy said, rejecting DirecTV's claim the deplatforming was a "business decision." "They know the elections are coming up. They want to silence conservative voices. They got away with deplatforming One America News, and they hope that they can get away with this, and I think they were shocked and surprised by the outcry."
Rep. Ken Buck, who recently released "Crushed: Big Tech's War on Free Speech," published by Humanix Books, led Tuesday night's one-hour House special order presentation, where he denounced the "shocking coordinated attempt by progressives" to strike back at dissent.
Buck is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, while also sitting on the Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee, and he has vowed to investigate AT&T DirecTV's action against conservatives — it has been alleged the move came after emboldened progressive Democrats prodded deplatforming in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
"They really were selectively trying to target us to essentially put us out of business, because they know a cable news channel needs to have license fee income to exist, and they didn't want us to be treated like another cable news channel," Ruddy told Van Susteren, maintaining that DirecTV's "cost-cutting" explanation does not hold water.
"Usually you do it by eliminating the very costly channels that have very little ratings," Ruddy continued. "And with us, they're taking a highly rated channel — we're No. 5 for cable news in the United States, we reach 25 million Americans, and we're top 20 of cable overall.
"We're a big deal in cable, and they're saying that we're not eligible for a fee."
Notably, Nielsen data has set Newsmax apart from Fox News, the third conservative network targeted by Dems, but the only one still platformed.
"Nielsen said there were five million people last quarter that never tuned into Fox once, and so that's astounding: It shows that we have a very unique product, people like it, and they keep coming back; our audience is growing," Ruddy added.
As for Tenney's call for DirecTV's return to the table Ruddy says he is "not aware of any" intention by the company to do so.
"They were pretty clear just before they took us off: They said that they would never negotiate a fee with Newsmax," Ruddy said. "They said we were not entitled to have a fee. Even though everyone in cable news gets a fee, they said Newsmax was ineligible and they would never negotiate from zero.
"So, there's no negotiations ongoing. We would be very happy to negotiate and if they would negotiate in good faith with us. And we have expressed that to them many times."
Actions to Take Now
1. DirecTV customers: Call them toll free at 877-763-9762 and demand they bring NEWSMAX back on air. President Donald Trump urges you CANCEL!
- Important: If DirecTV tells you we are still negotiating, that is a lie! They have told NEWSMAX we will never be on a regular cable channel. DirecTV also replaced NEWSMAX with a channel that has no news and no ratings. Also, NEWSMAX's livestream is ending soon on other platforms, so unless you get it on DirecTV you will have to cancel their service.
2. AT&T customers: Call toll free at 888-855-2338, for any of their cellphones, wireless products, or services, and demand they end their censorship of NEWSMAX. President Trump has urged you to cancel their services.
3. Call your congressman or senator at 202-224-3121 and demand they stop AT&T/DirecTV's censorship of NEWSMAX — ask them to give you a date on the hearings!
4. Go to our online petition and get more info at: iWantNewsmax.com.
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