U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert on Tuesday threatened to strip AT&T of its federal subsidies over its decision to drop Newsmax from its DirecTV products.
“As long as you continue to censor conservatives and attack the press [networks like Newsmax], I will make it my personal mission to strip the wasteful ridiculous federal subsidies you receive at DirecTV,” she said during a House floor speech.
“And to all the ‘woke’ corporations, this isn’t a threat — it’s absolutely a promise. If you continue to stifle free speech in this great country and muzzle the press corps, Congress will have no choice but to hold you accountable. And I promise you, my colleagues and I are happy to take you on to preserve free speech for all Americans,” she added.
As previously reported, DirecTV stopped offering Newsmax to its customers last week, ostensibly because of a dispute over a rate increase desired by the conservative network.
Despite the reason for the drop, conservatives (including former President Donald Trump) have pushed back by framing the drop as a consequence of “cancel culture” run amok.
Speaking on the House floor late Tuesday, Boebert joined this chorus.
“At midnight Tuesday, January 24th, 2023, Newsmax was removed from DirectTV, DirecTV stream, and U-verse, denying 13 million customers this highly rated news channel,” Boebert began.
“This is not the first time that we’ve seen this, and I’m afraid that it won’t be the last time that we are seeing this here in our great country. OAN was de-platformed by DirecTV in April of 2022. So what’s next? Fox News? Will the Weather Channel be canceled next, if they refuse to bow to the left’s altar of climate change,” she added.
One America News Network was indeed also removed from DirecTV in April of 2022, albeit for a different reason.
“DirecTV announced it wouldn’t renew its carriage deal with OAN after pressure from advocacy groups that pointed out OAN ‘is a major supporter of the Stop the Steal movement,’ spread ‘election fraud lies that claimed the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump,’ ‘stok[ed] violent calls for the attack on the US Capitol,’ and airs ‘wall-to-wall COVID-19 disinformation,'” as reported by Ars Technica.
DirecTV announces it’s dropping Conservative OANN from lineup, boycott begins https://t.co/Qgpnuc7DXf
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 15, 2022
Continuing her remarks, Boebert began leaning into the “cancel culture” narrative.
“Americans are tired of cancel culture. Conservatives are not being treated fairly. We’re the ones who are censored by big tech. We’re the ones targeted and called domestic terrorists when moms and dads show up at school board meetings,” she said.
“We’re the ones targeted by the IRS because our organizations have the word patriot in their name. If you’re a conservative pastor, the government persecutes you. If you’re a liberal pastor, well, Joe Biden shows up to your church whether he realizes he’s there or not.”
Everything she said was accurate. Conservatives have faced politically motivated attacks on multiple fronts, including from the IRS.
Larry Elder: Justifying the suppression of Conservative content https://t.co/bVXgOPbmzJ pic.twitter.com/IksPLOlloP
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 15, 2022
As previously reported, the Colorado lawmaker concluded her remarks by threatening DirecTV with action.
Several of her colleagues also spoke out Tuesday, including Rep. Matt Gaetz.
“There’s only one reason why we’re seeing this cancel culture affect telecommunications. And it’s because they don’t like what you have to say. It’s not a business case. It’s not some sort of entrepreneurial play. It’s content-based censorship, and we need a multi-vector attack on this,” he said on Newsmax itself.
“The anti-trust division of the Department of Justice should be looking into this. The FEC should open an investigation into this. And of course, the United States Congress should speak loudly about such an infringement of the rights of Americans to use just their basic access to the digital world to obtain diverse viewpoints,” he added.
AT&T’s DirecTV has REMOVED @Newsmax from its lineup.
This is blatant content-based censorship. Congress, the Antitrust Division of the DOJ, and the FCC need to investigate @ATT‘s decision immediately.
Americans should not be denied their right to access diverse viewpoints. pic.twitter.com/gWr4euXYLa
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) January 31, 2023
Speaking last — this time back on the House floor — freshman Rep. Eric Burlison perhaps took things a tad too far by invoking the Holocaust.
“These companies choose to silence conservative speech by first de-platforming or eliminating One America News. And now they’re going after Newsmax. You know, there’s a famous quote about what happened during the Holocaust, when the Nazis first came for some, and people said nothing, and then eventually they’ll come for you,” he said.
“And I say this not as a Republican or a Missourian, but as a concerned citizen for a country who has these rights that were here because of the blood that was shed by thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of patriots from the time of the American Revolution until today,” he added.
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