By Jeffrey Lord for Daily Caller News Foundation
In the wake of the now-infamous silencing of Newsmax TV by cable carrier AT&T and its subsidiary DirecTV, the demands for a congressional investigation of the cable providers have ramped up. With the demands coming from members of Congress. (Full disclosure, I am a Newsmax contributor.)
As this is written, the list includes over 40 GOP House Members who signed a letter of protest headed by Rep. Wesley Hunt. The letter was sent to AT&T CEO John Stankey, DirecTV CEO William Morrow and TPG Capital CEO Jon Winkelreid, collectively the owners of DirecTV.
U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Rick Scott have also joined the protest of the censorship of the conservative TV network by the left-leaning tech giants.
And of course, former President Donald Trump instantly took up the subject, his statement saying this:
“WOW. AT&T DIRECTV REMOVES NEWSMAX FROM ITS CHANNEL LINEUP. This disgusting move comes after ‘deplatforming’ One America News Network last year. The Radical Left seems to have taken over the mind and soul of AT&T. This is a big blow to the Republican Party, and to America itself. For DIRECTV to drop very popular NEWSMAX, without explanation, will not be accepted. I, for one, will be dropping all association with AT&T and DIRECTV, and I have plenty. This is just one of many reasons why we must WIN IN 2024!!!”
The question now in the Newsmax episode is: what will Congress do?
Obviously, the pressure is now on House Republicans to open a serious investigation with their new-found power in running the various House committees. And House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer gets it.
Here’s a headline from Mediaite: “GOP Oversight Chair Promises Hearings on DirecTV Dropping Newsmax: ‘Having a Negative Impact on My Congressional District.”
Good for Congressman Comer.
Yes, DirecTV says it will add a new conservative show on their cable offerings. That would be The First, which will be hosted by Bill O’Reilly and Dana Loesch.
But this misses the point entirely. DirecTV has already dumped the conservative One America News a year ago, and now the conservative Newsmax.
How long will The First last before the demand grows for it too to be dumped by DirecTV? It is passing strange that no left-leaning TV outlet has been dumped by DirecTV, while two conservative outlets have been targeted for removal.
And there is an unspoken blockbuster question: Is Fox News the next target?
Recall that all of this furor began last year when Democrat Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney, both California Democrats and both members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee “sent a letter to cable and streaming companies on Monday questioning their decisions to host certain news networks,”
Said their letter:
“Misinformation on TV has led to our current polluted information environment that radicalizes individuals to commit seditious acts and rejects public health best practices, among other issues in our public discourse,” they wrote, singling out Newsmax, One America News Network (OANN) and Fox News for airing misinformation.”
One suspects this letter was not the only discussion of this subject inside AT&T and DirecTV. So what does an investigating congressional committee do?
Recall that the Jan. 6 Committee demanded, got and publicly released the private correspondence of media stars Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham with the Trump White House as the events of Jan. 6 unfolded.
This is called “precedent.”
Thus Rep. Comer’s committee should have no hesitation in demanding, getting and releasing all the internal correspondence of AT&T, DirecTV on the subject of silencing Newsmax.
The time to put a halt to the censorship of Newsmax and other conservative media outlets is at last here. Let the House Oversight Committee investigation into AT&T and DirecTV conservative censorship begin.
Jeffrey Lord is a Pennsylvania-based contributing editor of The American Spectator. He writes at his own web site, TheJeffreyLord.com and is the author of Swamp Wars; Donald Trump and the New American Populism vs. the Old Order.
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