Lauren Boebert fears Fox News will be removed by DirectTV
Conservative firebrand Lauren Boebert has expressed concern that Fox News and other TV stations could be eliminated under a perceived liberal agenda, after Newsmax was pulled from cable by DirecTV.
The Republican representative from Colorado was among several GOP congressmen to deliver speeches criticizing the move on Tuesday, with several saying it was part of a move to silence free speech, a claim the cable company has denied.
“Americans are tired of the cancel culture,” Boebert told the House. “Conservatives are not being treated fairly.”
Newsmax ceased airing on DirecTV at 11:59 p.m. ET on January 24, after a dispute over a new broadcast deal went unresolved.
AT&T’s DirecTV said it would have liked to continue offering the channel to its cable viewers, but Newsmax had charged a carriage fee – as other major channels do – to supplement ad revenue.
DirecTV cited Newsmax’s low viewership ratings compared to other news channels, including conservative outlets, as part of its reasoning. Newsmax has an audience of 113,000 according to USTVDB figures, compared to arch-rival Fox, which has an audience of over 2.2 million.
“According to Nielsen, Newsmax’s average national household audience is just 101,000 households, which is less than 0.1% of total television households,” wrote Michael Hartman, Director of External Relations for DirecTV. , in a letter, seen by Newsweekto GOP officials, including Boebert, on January 23.
“That’s 92% less than Fox News,” he added.
In his floor speech, Boebert repeated the claim that the One America News network had been “de-platformed” by DirecTV – something stated by other GOP officials and Newsmax itself.
“It’s not the first time we’ve seen this and I’m afraid it won’t be the last time we’ve seen this here in our great country,” she feared.
“So what’s next?” Boebert reflected. “Fox News? Will the next weather channel be canceled if it refuses to bow to the altar of the climate change left? What about the History Channel? We regularly see that the left wants to erase history and deny the truth.
“What would you say [Trinity Broadcasting Network]? There has certainly been an increase in contempt and intolerance on the part of many liberals towards Christians, simply saying “we love Jesus”. So is TBN next?”
While Newsmax’s exit from cable television was rejected by conservatives, DirecTV stressed that it would like Newsmax to reverse the previous agreement between the two companies.
But Newsmax has previously argued that “liberal-leaning” channels, some of which have fewer viewers than Newsmax, receive distribution fees from DirecTV.
“DirecTV in no way works to limit conservative viewpoints,” Hartman wrote in his letter to GOP officials.
He suggested it was Newsmax that was willing to give up its free streaming services — which he said were delivered to 55 million American homes against 101,000 cable viewers — to switch to cable in exchange for more fees.
Hartman also noted that without Newsmax, DirecTV customers “still have access to their clearly favorite conservative news channel, Fox News, which has more viewers than MSNBC, CNN and Newsmax combined.”
Speaking to Newsmax on Tuesday, Boebert said “lobbyists” from companies such as AT&T “will soon start coming to our offices, and they better believe that’s the one and only thing I want to discuss with them”.
“There are certainly a lot of things that need to be answered,” she added.
Newsweek has contacted DirecTV for comment.