Several Pay-TV Operators Have Dropped Right-Wing Newsmax Network

Following DirecTV’s announcement that it is dropping One News Network (OAN), it has emerged that rival right-wing network Newsmax has been quietly dropped by several pay-TV operators since the start of 2022.

Those operators include Atlantic Broadband, Cincinnati Bell, Central Pennsylvania’s Blue Ridge Communications, and South Carolina-based, Cable One-owned Hargray Communications.

In a blog post earlier this month, Newsmax alerted viewers that it has been dropped by Hargray, urged viewers to demand that Hargray reinstate the network, and also encouraged them to  switch to other platforms that carry Newsmax.

Like OAN, Newsmax has asserted that loss of carriage renewals are due to censorship of right-wing viewpoints.

The blog post, for example, also states: “Despite our high ratings with personalities like Greg Kelly, Eric Bolling, Sean Spicer, Lyndsay Keith, Dick Morris, Alan Dershowitz, and more — it is clear that Blue Ridge doesn’t like Newsmax’s point of view. They don’t want our strong support of American values you care about”...

As with DirecTV's OAN announcement, operators that have opted not to renew Newsmax have framed the decision in strictly business terms.

“While we worked in good faith to negotiate a new agreement, Newsmax insisted on unreasonable terms and conditions that would have resulted in increased TV fees for all Atlantic Broadband customers even though Newsmax is available for free for other viewers,” Atlantic Broadband said in a statement. “This is unfair to Atlantic Broadband customers, including those who enjoy the channel. Because we could not reach a new agreement, the channel is no longer offered on our lineup.”

Although Newsmax and OAN serve much smaller audiences than Fox News, critics contend that all three are undermining democracy by continuing to spread “The Big Lie” that denies Joe Biden’s legitimate election as president in 2020.

All three networks are involved in ongoing lawsuits stemming from their coverage of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

In November, voting machine companySmartmatic filed separate lawsuits against Newsmax and OAN, charging that the networks defamed Smartmatic and damaged its business by airing false claims that it helped switch votes for Donald Trump to Joe Biden. Earlier in 2021, Smartmatic filed a similar defamation lawsuit against Fox News, seeking $2.7 billion in damages. Dominion Voting Systems has also filed defamation lawsuits against Newsmax, OAN and Fox.

All of the networks maintain that their coverage was newsworthy and protected by the First Amendment. 

In December, a Delaware court rejected Fox News’s motion to dismiss Dominion’s $1.6-billion lawsuit against that network. 

If the litigants were to win their lawsuits, the damages could prove crushing to OAN and/or Newsmax, although deep-pocketed, Murdoch-owned Fox Corp. could presumably absorb such a hit. 

And whereas OAN will lose its largest pay-TV distributor when its DirecTV contract expires in April, Newsmax is still included in the base packages of DirecTV, DirecTV Stream, Dish Network and Sling TV, and can also be accessed via Xfinity, FuboTV, Spectrum, AT&T and Cox platforms.

Adding weight to operators' insistence that politics aren't behind decisions to drop Newsmax or OAN, all of them continue to carry Fox News.

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