House Oversight Chair James Comer Threatens DirecTV-Reinstate Newsmax ‘Or Else’
House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, R-KY, hammered DirectTV and AT&T in a new interview on Friday for their decision to pull Newsmax from their lineup. Comer joined Newsmax host John Bachman and said he had threatened the executives at the communications companies to restore the network or be held accountable by Congress.
“I’m very concerned. I’m very upset that DirecTV does not have Newsmax on there. I’ve been in constant communication with the leadership at AT&T and DirecTV. I have strongly encouraged them to meet with your CEO, Mr. Ruddy, to get this worked out or else!”
DirecTV dropped the conservative news channel from its lineup in January, claiming a dispute over carriage fees. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy has called the decision a “blatant act of political discrimination and censorship.” DirecTV previously dropped the conservative One America News Network from its lineup in April at the behest of Democrat lawmakers.
“So I think if anyone has ever watched the House Oversight Committee, any of our first three hearings, they have to ask themselves, do you really want to go in front of the House Oversight Committee?” Comer told Bachman that the 26 republicans of the House Oversight Committee were passionate about the network and wanted to do everything in their power to prevent another conservative outlet from being erased from TV.
“We’re all huge fans of Newsmax. We don’t like to see Newsmax not being offered on DirecTV, especially considering Newsmax is the, I think, the fourth highest-rated news show on TV now.”
Comer continued, calling DirecTV’s suspension of the network an act of blatant partisanship.
“And they have dozens of other new shows that have much lower ratings than Newsmax. So I’m doing everything in my ability to see that this gets worked out. If it does, then I would expect the Republican majority to begin to take steps to take action in this. Again, this is private companies. We don’t want to see this happen.”
Bachman asked Comer if he had any deadline in mind when he ordered the executives to comply ‘or else.’
“We go back next week. I’m going to be meeting with some more leaders from DirecTV. They know that I won’t answer. So. And again, our committee is chomping at the bit to get them in front of the committee,” Comer said. “We want this resolved, and hopefully, we’ll see something in the next few days.”
Bachman rounded out the segment by thanking Comer. “And we appreciate the support from everyone in congress. I know you guys love us, but we know you love the First Amendment just a little bit more.”
In a January statement, DirecTV claimed their decision to drop Newsmax was strictly an issue of cost-cutting. The company wrote,
“On multiple occasions, we made it clear to Newsmax that we wanted to continue to offer the network, but ultimately Newsmax’s demands for rate increases would have led to significantly higher costs that we would have to pass on to our broad customer base.”
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Newsmax was a ‘top 20’ news channel at the time of its suspension, with more than 25 million viewers on cable alone. According to Newsmax, DirecTV pays the licensing fees for all top 75 channels. That figure includes all 22 liberal news and information channels the network carries.
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