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DirecTV’s Reason for Dropping an Ultra Conservative Channel Is Disappointing

Before you un-cut the cord, you might want to read this.

frustrated woman

If you’ve been itching to un-cut the cord but have been loath to support any service that had Newsmax on it, I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news, friends.

The good news is that DirecTV and, by proxy, their parent company AT&T have dumped those jackasses. The bad news is that it’s not for any good reason. See, a good reason would be that these capitalist-loving media conglomerates would realize that hosting a news channel devoted solely toward extreme right-wing propaganda with no semblance of commitment toward actual objective news is bad for the country, and thus, dump them. We, however, live in a never-ending nightmare and that is not the case. No, Newsmax got de-platformed because they wanted to raise their prices once their existing deal expired, and that, friends is bad for the bottom line.

DirecTV, in their infinite wisdom, said thanks but no thanks, and now Newsmax and their favorite republican lawmakers are screaming and crying about discrimination. Per Ars Technica:

Newsmax is no longer on DirecTV, as the satellite video provider today said it decided not to renew an expiring deal because of Newsmax’s money demands.

“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,” DirecTV said in a statement provided to Ars. (AT&T owns 70 percent of DirecTV.)

Now, look, I am by no means a successful businessperson, but I do know that you should go into negotiations with a pretty good idea of what is possible in said negotiations. If you’re Newsmax, and DirecTV was literally paying nothing to carry your channel, asking them to pay a lot more than that is probably a tough pill to swallow, and friends, DirecTV was paying nothing for Newsmax.

The “rate increase” demanded by Newsmax was actually from a base of $0 because DirecTV didn’t have to pay Newsmax to carry the network under their now-expired deal, a DirecTV spokesperson told Ars. DirecTV says it was one of the first pay-TV providers to carry Newsmax starting in 2014.

LOL. So Newsmax thought DirecTV was their friend, I guess, and would come through for them and pay more when they were paying nothing for almost 10 years? I’m not sure what the play was here, but you know what’s coming next. Newsmax is crying about it. Boohoo. From the same article:

While DirecTV described it as a financial decision, Newsmax accused DirecTV of discrimination and censorship. “This is a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax,” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said in an article on the Newsmax website titled, “AT&T’s DirecTV Cancels Newsmax in Censorship Move.”

They’re even getting their friends in Congress involved because what else do those people have going on? Per Ars Technica:

Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-Texas) and 41 other Republican members of Congress last week sent a letter to the CEOs of AT&T and DirecTV claiming that DirecTV appears to be “actively working to limit conservative viewpoints on its system.” The letter suggested the Newsmax decision is part of what Republicans called an “un-democratic assault on free speech” orchestrated by congressional Democrats and the White House in coordination with private companies.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure these are the same people telling me to pull myself up by my bootstraps anytime I can’t afford a home, my student loan payments, or generally to live in this country. So if I could offer Newsmax some advice here, maybe it should stop buying avocado toast, look under the couch cushions, and get to work?

So what does Newsmax have to say about this? I had to look because they posted about their removal today, and I burst out laughing when they described themselves as “the fourth highest-rated cable news channel in the nation.” OK, first off, ranking fourth when basically no one can name any channel outside of the unholy trifecta of CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC isn’t exactly a win, and second, show your sources, because according to Vanity Fair, you’re not looking so good:

According to Nielsen, nationwide Newsmax’s average household audience is only 101,000 households, representing less than 0.1% of total TV households,” per The Daily Beast. “That is 92 percent lower than Fox News.” Fox has an audience of over 2.2 million. 

Now, before you get too excited that this is the death of Newsmax and life is about to get better for us all, it’s not. A meaner, uglier network is primed to take its place on DirecTV. From the same Vanity Fair article:

DirecTV has since announced it will be replacing Newsmax’s empty slot with a different right-wing channel, The First, whose on-air personalities include former NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch and disgraced Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.

Gross. With right-wing cable news networks, it’s just a never-ending race to the bottom, isn’t it?

(featured image: Shutterstock)

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