Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., who recently released “Crushed: Big Tech’s War on Free Speech,” led a one-hour House special order presentation Tuesday night, where he and 17 GOP colleagues upset about AT&T DirecTV’s deplatforming of Newsmax and media efforts to silence conservative voices, spoke out for the network and for free speech.
Here are the highlights of the speakers’ remarks presented chronologically.
Buck, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, rebuked Democrats for their “shocking, coordinated attempt” to push DirecTV and AT&T to censor Newsmax:
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why AT&T and DirecTV felt pressured to comply with committee demands. Simply put, Democrats on that committee disagreed with the content coming out of One America News Network and Newsmax, and decided they wanted them canceled.
“This is a clear case of free speech infringement and viewpoint discrimination. Government colluding with telecommunications giants should chill us all.”
Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C.
“In the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, we will plumb the depths of powerful agencies gone rogue, and then this Congress must act to keep in check power exercised in secret.”
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.
“We’ve watched as Democrats, instead of promoting free speech, wrote a letter demanding that AT&T, Alphabet, Hulu, Apple, Comcast, Roku, etc., remove three conservative media outlets from their programming. They’ve taken down OAN, and they have now notified Newsmax they’re going to take them down.
“We know what happens in nations where you have the big government – utilizing the power of the marketplace through big business and now the marriage of Big Tech – we know that leads to something that I call it fascism. That is what we see happening in this once, and hopefully future, great nation today.”
Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C.
“I’m glad the House Republicans will hold hearings on this matter to get to the bottom of the blatant censorship of conservative views so that we will know once and for all, if DirecTV is selectively targeting Newsmax. DirecTV should be held accountable for its actions, and I fully stand behind conservatives having their voices heard.”
Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas
“Right now we’re literally witnessing the decay of our freedoms of speech. For years we have watched one political party silence and discredit those they disagree with by deplatforming them, censoring them, shadow banning them, and suppressing their ability to reach the public.
“We’ve seen this tactic used against duly elected members of Congress, professionals in countless fields, conservative media outlets like Newsmax and OAN, and even a sitting president.
“The endless kowtowing to a political faction with an agenda so radical, that you either have to bend the knee or be exiled, goes against the very fabric of our Constitution. It’s un-American, and it’s just a disgrace.
“The left treats debate – or, God forbid, even a simple difference of thought – as public enemy number one. Why is our freedom of speech so threatening to the democratic narrative? We cannot stand idle while our freedoms are being extinguished.”
Rep. Bob Good, R-Va.
“It’s wrong for DirecTV to utilize their business to suppress conservative voices by infringing on the constitutional freedoms of speech and the freedom of the press, because Newsmax is actually a media company that’s trying hard to hold government accountable.
“Why else would DirecTV dropped one of the most popular Channels” DirecTV’s actions are just another example of Big Tech and big media being leveraged to discriminate against conservative voices.”
Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J.
“With DirecTV, making the decision to remove Newsmax, it is essentially depriving millions of Americans from hearing directly from their representatives. It is censorship. It is definitely censorship, and it is departing from our nation’s, from America’s, core principles. That’s why I’m standing here.
“I’m standing here. I’m fighting here for Newsmax on DirecTV. It’s not just about Newsmax. It’s about American’s right to freedom of speech. We cannot lose the America, the America that we know and the America that we love, but we are so painfully close to losing it in so many ways, and this being the most important way.
“We cannot allow the silencing of views. We must foster, encourage debate in this great country. Everybody should be at the table. All the issues should be discussed and hammered out, whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, an independent.
“Everyone deserves a voice. Everyone deserves to be heard. This is America and everyone deserves to exercise their first Amendment right without any interference, without interference from big companies, without interference from Big Tech, without interference from government. That’s what our founders intended. That is what America is about. We have the responsibility to stand up. And fight. And love that America.”
Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.
“It’s all unacceptable. Corrupt corporations and bureaucrats must be held accountable. We will utilize the Holman Rule and all tools at our disposal in Congress.
“I look forward to our investigations and to our reforms.”
Rep. Mike Cloud, R-Texas
“Last year, several members on the other side of the aisle sent letters to several cable and satellite providers, including DirecTV, demanding that they stop showing OAN, Newsmax, and Fox. In recent weeks, we’ve seen AT&T DirecTV cave to the Democrats’ anti-American and Marxist demands by demonetizing Newsmax and OAN.
“Many Americans are concerned. They realized that their government’s suppression of speech is the mark of totalitarianism. And we’re committed to pushing back on this administration’s attempt to silence and suppress the American people.
“To those on the left. I would simply ask this: If you have to work this hard – if you have to use censorship, coercion, and suppression for your ideas to gain any traction – maybe you have bad ideas.”
Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y.
“This negotiation tactic is a clear example of political bias against conservative news outlets like Newsmax, and it is having a chilling effect on free speech and freedom of the press.
“Media outlets enjoying certain privileges as members of the fourth estate, limiting free speech based on political views, is against the spirit of the First Amendment and contrary to a country that celebrates and encourages the marketplace of ideas.
“DirecTV has a responsibility to reassure its customers and the American people that it is not silencing Newsmax for political reasons. I asked, and all of us are asking, that DirecTV immediately come to the negotiation table with Newsmax and end this disruption of access rooted in political bias.
“I just hope that everyone on both sides of the aisle – and all with all viewpoints – would stand up and fight on behalf of all of us who are now not getting a robust debate as promised by the spirit of our founders.”
Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Pa.
“Over a million DirecTV subscribers in Pennsylvania, hundreds of thousands in my district, no longer have access to Newsmax through their TV. Dozens and dozens of my constituents have written or called my office to voice their concern and anger about DirecTV’s actions to deplatform Newsmax.
“This is unacceptable. The Committee on Oversight and Accountability will be – I very much hope and will be supporting – investigating private companies that have circumvented the First Amendment for ideological purposes.”
Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah
“There will never be American unity without freedom of speech, to be heard, and our thoughts to be judged by one another. Ignorant and free can never be.
“Those who seek to keep us ignorant, regardless of how powerful and popular they are, are not friends of freedom. And they’re not friends of the American way. I’ll call on all Americans join us in this fight against censorship and preserve our freedom.”
Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo.
“How many liberals have been banned or shadowbanned on Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other social and digital media sites? Scores of conservatives have been so banned, including our former president.
“How many times do we see the so-called fact checks on the social media posts of conservatives, while never seeing them on the post of liberals? These fact checks have covered such topics as COVID, climate change, gun rights, crime and actions of protesters. The fact checks are dubious at best and downright dishonest at worst.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.
“Does it feel sometimes like we’re living in a crazy sci-fi movie where powerful entities and interests are trying to control what we see and what we hear and what we read, because they ultimately want to dominate what we think and how we behave,” Gaetz said on the House floor.
“My fellow Americans, there is broad effort underway to deplatform, demonetize and destroy anyone who has an America First perspective. We’ve seen this with Newsmax.”
Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis.
“Their message is loud and clear: Get in line or we’re going to use the levers of government to silence you. It’s a chilling message – reminiscent of the practice of communists in China or Russia or Cuba. It surprises me what open criticism of the government you can find in Russia.
“In China, the Communist Party, though, does exercise complete control of the Internet, restricting what its citizens can search for. It’s hard to believe people in this country want this country to become more like China.”
Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn.
“DirecTV says this is purely a business decision, but nobody believes that, Mr. Speaker. Big media corporations don’t exactly have the best record of protecting conservative speech. Last year, Democrats in Congress wrote letters to AT&T and other telecom companies demanding they deplatform Newsmax – which is really just a fancy way of saying we’re going to deny your First Amendment rights, Mr. Speaker – along with Fox News and One America News because of so-called disinformation.
“After these letters were sent, DirecTV dropped One America News, and now it appears to be doing the same thing to Newsmax. This fits a disturbing pattern, Mr. Speaker, of these woke corporations using their market dominance to censor conservative networks to appease Washington politicians and further their demands on woke-a-topia.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.
“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 – 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.
“And yet now we’re faced with Newsmax — a conservative news organization followed and watched, again, by millions of Americans — and it has been removed from DirecTV. Newsmax is the fourth most watched news channel, but they’ve been removed for hyper political reasons.”
Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo.
“Now we see entities – businesses that the federal government has given special privileges to provide over the air television, cable television right away, to deliver entertainment to the homes of individuals across America – that these companies choose to silence conservative speech by first deplatformed 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, people said nothing. And then eventually they’ll come for you. And I say this not as a Republican or a Missourian, but as a as a concerned citizen.”