It’s pretty clear that Newsmax boss Chris Ruddy has no problem pushing Congressional Republicans to do his negotiating with DirecTV for him.

And it’s also pretty clear that those politicians are eager to carry his water in exchange for a safe space on a cable outlet where only softball questions are asked.

And it is even clearer that DirecTV is getting sick of a common carriage fee dispute being mischaracterized as an attack on the First Amendment.

The satellite provider told Senate Republicans last week that Newsmax continues to lie about the network’s ratings as part of its political pressure campaign to force the pay-TV provider to dish out millions of dollars to the pro-Trump channel.

Besides peddling “misleading” claims about its viewership, the satellite carrier also said that Newsmax is pushing false information about the license fees DirecTV pays to other channels, noting that many networks Newsmax claims are getting paid by the company receive no carriage fees.

In response to a letter sent by Senators Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham, Mike Lee, and Tom Cotton demanding answers and a DirecTV capitulation to the Newsmax $13 million holdup DirecTV replied, in part:

DIRECTV has publicly and repeatedly offered to continue carrying Newsmax on acceptable commercial terms.  Newsmax has refused these terms.  But DIRECTV’s willingness to continue to carry Newsmax stands….

Newsmax is seeking to leverage its negotiations with DIRECTV to bootstrap its efforts to become an exclusively subscription service.

Currently Newsmax is viewable by all approximately 130 million households in the US via pay TV services and free-of-charge steaming services.  However, Newsmax’s desired subscription-based model, planned to be put in place within a few months, would limit access to its channels to only those 75 million US households that have a pay TV service (approximately 60% of all US households).  Newsmax intends to cease providing its channel via streaming, which will cut off the other approximately 55 million US households (40% of all US households).  That is more than five times the number of households that subscribe to DIRECTV.

We find it disingenuous of Newsmax to claim that it is being deplatformed by DIRECTV when its own plan is to cease making its channel available to many more households than DIRECTV has customers.

There is quite a bit more included by DirecTV in the lengthy reply which Cruz has, already and predictably, dismissed.

Read the entire letter here.

And for its part, Newsmax has hired former congressman Jack Kingston, now a K street lobbyist, to twist some arms on Capitol Hill using its specious “censorship” argument.

Money well spent, we’re sure.

More News from Monday, March 6, 2023