(FiveNation.com)- Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson told Newsmax last week that DirecTV removing Newsmax threatens the First Amendment.
Newsmax was removed from DirectTV, DirecTV Stream, and U-Verse on January 24, cutting off its reach to over 13 million customers. The conservative news network’s CEO Chris Ruddy denounced the move as “political discrimination and censorship.”
DirecTV dropped Newsmax after the news network sought cable licensing fees which DirecTV rejected, arguing that its arrangement allowed Newsmax to “generate considerable advertising revenue at no cost.”
During an interview on Newsmax’s “Prime News,” Carson told host Jenn Pellegrino that he was pleased that Republican lawmakers are looking into the circumstances behind DirecTV’s decision to remove Newsmax from its programming choices.
Last week, some Senate Republicans sent a letter to DirecTV demanding to know if its decision to drop the right-leaning Newsmax from its lineup was politically motivated.
In a letter to DirecTV sent last Wednesday, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, along with Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas described the move as “the latest example of big business suppressing politically disfavored speech at the behest of liberal Democrats.”
The senators argued that both Congress and the American public have the right to know whether DirecTV’s decision “was politically motivated, including whether the company succumbed to pressure” from the Biden administration or Democrat lawmakers.
They noted that DirecTV allegedly pays “substantial sums” in licensing fees to “channels that are politically left-of-center” despite those channels having lower ratings than Newsmax.
The senators are asking DirecTV for an accounting of any fees it pays to other channels and if those channels receiving fees from DirecTV have higher or lower ratings than Newsmax.
Carson told Pellegrino that he would like some Democrat lawmakers to join their Republican colleagues, arguing that this shouldn’t be a partisan issue. “We are talking about freedom in our country,” Carson said.