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OPINION

DirectTV’s Attack on Free Speech

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Elise Amendola

The protection of Free Speech allows individuals to express their opinions, ideas, and beliefs without fear of retribution. However, recent actions by DirectTV to remove Newsmax from its programming is a direct attack on the popular conservative news outlet and more so on the liberties guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

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This isn’t the first time this has happened. It was just about a year ago when DirecTV announced it would be dropping One America News Network (OANN) from its programming. There seems to be a media company Groundhog Day – and those who value free speech keep losing to the corporate censors.

Newsmax has been a trusted source of news and information for millions of Americans for many years, providing a diverse range of opinions – admittedly mostly from a conservative viewpoint. The channel has been critical of certain policies and actions that were taken by the Biden Administration and has been at the forefront of exposing corruption and holding our government accountable. 

There is no question that Democrats and others on the far left of the political spectrum disagree with the ideas presented by the network – but no one is forcing them to watch it. Just like how so many on the right readily dismiss the coverage presented on MSNBC or CNN. 

Free speech is a cornerstone of our Constitution and a fundamental human right for all Americans. If we lose this essential freedom we will lose out on important ideas, perspectives, and information – and censorship wins. Do we really want one ideology or corporate interest controlling our access to ideas and information?

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An open exchange of ideas and opinions in the marketplace of ideas must be protected against the forces of cancel culture. The choice to decide our positions on issues or what candidates we support should be made with all information available. However, DirectTV’s decision to remove Newsmax from its platform has effectively silenced a significant portion of the political spectrum, thereby limiting the free exchange of ideas and opinions that are essential for a healthy democracy.

In a democratic society, free speech is not only about protecting individual rights, but also about fostering a culture of open debate and diverse perspectives. A free press is a cornerstone of democratic governance and provides a check on the powers of government and the private sector. When a news outlet is censored (or in this case canceled), it sends a chilling message to the public and other media outlets, suggesting that certain ideas or diverse viewpoints are unacceptable and that dissenting voices will not be tolerated. This undermines the very foundation of the USA and creates a sense of fear and mistrust among the public.

While those on the left may not like it, the protection of free speech applies to all individuals (including those at Newsmax), regardless of their political views or affiliations. It is a right that must be exercised without fear of retribution.

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Cancel culture and censorship also undermines the principles of a free market economy. By removing Newsmax from its platform, DirectTV is effectively controlling the information that its customers can access, thereby limiting their ability to make informed decisions. This is particularly concerning in an age where access to information and media is increasingly controlled by a few corporations, who can use their power to silence dissenting voices and shape public opinion.

It seems the international left and corporate America want echo chambers instead of an honest free exchange of ideas.

DirectTV’s actions also raise serious concerns about the role of corporations in shaping public discourse and influencing public opinion. The fact that a private company can censor a news outlet, seemingly based on its own political bias, highlights the need for regulatory measures to ensure that corporations cannot interfere with the free exchange of ideas and opinions.

The rise of social media and the internet has allowed for the proliferation of news and information, but it has also made it easier for corporations, foreign political organizations, and governments to control the flow of information (until Elon Musk took over Twitter, anyway). The threat of censorship and the erosion of free speech are growing concerns, particularly as the line between traditional media and digital media continues to blur.

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By removing access to Newsmax, DirectTV launched a dangerous attack on free speech and the principles of our Republic. As this situation unfolds, the future of media and the free exchange of ideas is at stake. This is more than access to political talk shows. It is about the essential defense of the principles of free speech.

Shaun McCutcheon is a Free Speech advocate, an Alabama-based electrical engineer, the founder of Multipolar, and was the successful plaintiff in the 2014 Supreme Court case McCutcheon v. FEC.

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