DirecTV and Newsmax went their separate ways last month, and the parting has been much more sorrow than sweet.
A quick recap: DirecTV, majority-owned by AT&T, said Newsmax was seeking “rate increases” that “would have led to significantly higher costs” for the customer. Newsmax TV says that’s nonsense, and it was already heavily discounted compared to lower-rated channels. This time, the shots fired were not just a negotiating tactic, and DirecTV wasted no time replacing the right-wing Newsmax TV with fellow conservative platform The First.
Well, Newsmax TV and DirecTV are not staying friends post-breakup. Since Day 1, Newsmax called DirecTV passing on a new carriage deal “censorship” and “de-platforming.” DirecTV maintains the decision was purely a business play.
In the weeks that have followed, Newsmax has seemingly spent as much time reporting how un-American DirecTV is as it has reporting the actual news. (You know, if you consider Newsmax the actual news.)
The spat has devolved into a back-and-forth between leaders in the Jewish community, including Alan Dershowitz and Sen. Joseph Lieberman. First, Bryan Leib, who describes himself a “Newsmax insider,” assembled a team of “two dozen prominent Jews” to sign a letter to DirecTV expressing “serious concerns” about the removal of Newsmax.
“As leaders in our community, we represent millions of Jewish Americans. Newsmax has been a crucial way for us to reach our fellow Americans to share our perspectives on antisemitism, anti-Zionism, the State of Israel and other matters important to our community,” the letter reads, in part. The letter was provided to the Jewish News Syndicate for coverage; read more here.
In response, DirecTV brought together its own leaders from the Jewish community, including five rabbis, to sign a retaliatory letter that in part, reminds everyone it distributes the Jewish Broadcasting Service. Read that letter here.
“Newsmax is using its own newsroom platforms to obscure facts with inaccurate and misleading information – including dozens of daily blog posts, a steady stream of social from corporate or employee handles and 2+ hours of on-air programming daily – all in pursuit of its own business interests,” a spokesperson for the satellite-TV provider told IndieWire on Tuesday.
That’s not really an exaggeration: on Tuesday alone, Newsmax published 14 posts about its beef with DirecTV. Hey, Valentine’s Day is a particularly tough one for ex-lovers.
But that wasn’t much of an anomaly either — by our math, the DirecTV-is-a-big-meanie (paraphrasing) landing page on Newsmax.com has 186 posts — and counting.
IndieWire reached out to Newsmax for comment on this story, but we did not immediately receive a response.
Newsmax has one argument that potentially supports its position of “political discrimination,” accusing the satellite-television provider of favoring liberal-leaning news channels, regardless of TV ratings. In April 2022, DirecTV dumped pro-Trump channel OAN (One America News). But beyond The First, DirecTV also offers Fox News and its SVOD offering Fox Nation, the latter of which DirecTV customers can get via a free, 60-day trial.
Quick paragraph break, apropos of nothing…
Newsmax TV in IndieWire’s December ranking of all 126 cable channels for 2022, ranked 56th in primetime (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.), according to Nielsen’s Live + Same Day ratings. That put Newsmax below BBC America and Disney Junior, and above the NFL Network and Science Channel, while Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN were all Top 10 channels. Nexstar’s NewsNation, a more down-the-middle cable news channel, was 85th.
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