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This Week in Schadenfreude: No News(max) is Good News

A few months back, DirecTV dumped OANN because the cost of carrying the network did not justify the financial rewards. And yesterday, after months of haggling over pricing, DirecTV announced that it would drop Newsmax from its lineup as well. The change was effective immediately, and so in the span of 24 hours, the 8-year-old outlet went from reaching about 50 million homes to reaching about 35 million.

Now, this item could end right here. Newsmax is a propaganda outlet that spends most of its time telling viewers what to be angry about and who they should hate. Regardless of the politics involved, that is a vile business model, and anything that weakens such an outlet should be greeted with a hearty round of applause. Or laughter. Or both.

But it actually gets better. The moment that the decision was announced, there was much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments by those on the right, as they claimed this was yet another example of the oppression of political conservatives. "This is a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax," whined Newsmax founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy. Donald Trump declared that DirecTV's behavior is "disgusting," and that "The Radical Left seems to have taken over the mind and soul of AT&T (which owns DirecTV)."

Several Congressional Republicans, including Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), have called for hearings into the matter, and said that perhaps Congress should force DirecTV to carry Newsmax and OANN. Stefanik and 39 of her colleagues also sent a saber-rattling letter to the leadership of AT&T and DirecTV about their having cut the two channels. It reads, in part: "Taken together, these two actions lead us to believe that DirecTV, one of the nation's largest multichannel video programming distributors, is actively working to limit conservative viewpoints on its system. This is extremely concerning for Members of Congress because it suppresses political discourse and hamstrings our ability to connect with our constituents."

At this point, let us pause to share a message we received from reader J.L. in Los Angeles that is relevant to both the item above about the Durham probe and to this item:

Am I the only one noticing the explosion of irony/hypocrisy in the Republicans weaponizing the federal government by creating a special panel to investigate how Democrats have weaponized the federal government? Isn't this the most obvious argument to the absurdity of the GOP, and if so, why hasn't Joe Biden or some other prominent Democratic politician pointed this out yet? Why haven't you guys? Am I missing something?

The hypocrisy of these Republican politicians and functionaries is as clear as it could be. We note it in the item above, and we are happy to reiterate that point here. Many Republican politicians, predominantly those of the MAGA persuasion, are more than happy to clamp down on, say, African-American studies courses or children's books where a kid has two dads, but then they pitch a fit when, say, a cable provider does not renew its contract with a right-wing news channel or the Mars/M&M company decides to redesign its fictional spokescandies. These same politicians are huge fans of the free market when it comes to, say, healthcare or a baker who wants to discriminate against trans people, but they do a 180 when it is, say, a cable provider deciding what channels are most profitable, or a major Mouse-based entertainment conglomerate reiterating its support for marriage quality.

All politicians are sometimes a little hypocritical; that's the nature of the business. But this is clearly base hypocrisy of the highest order. And, to answer the question from J.L., the only reason that we don't point it out more often, and that Democratic politicians don't point it out more often, is that it's so obvious. We don't really have much to add, and if we were to point it out every day (which we surely could), it would get tiresome and perhaps patronizing.

Anyhow, the schadenfreude continues when we add one more little fact to the conversation. Not long after dropping Newsmax, DirecTV announced what channel will be taking over that slot. It's going to be The First. Now, you probably don't know what that is, unless you are really on top of your fringe media outlets. But it's a right-wing news network anchored by former Fox entertainer and perpetual lech Bill O'Reilly.

Needless to say, we don't love to see a man like O'Reilly get more exposure. After all, he was exposed quite enough while he was at Fox. Still, it is not often that these nonsensical "Conservatives are so oppressed! Woe be unto us!" moans and groans turn counterfeit in just a manner of hours. After all, if DirecTV really was trying to suppress conservative voices, they would hardly have swapped in yet another conservative news outlet. Seems like the cable provider made a decision based on... business. That's a lot of egg on the face of Ruddy, Trump, Scott, Stefanik and all the other shedders of crocodile tears. And there's plenty of schadenfreude in that. (Z)

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