DirecTV picks up right-of-center The First after being ripped for dumping Newsmax


A day after saying goodbye to Newsmax, DirecTV said hello to Bill O’Reilly.

The satellite-TV provider announced Thursday that it will add to its lineup The First TV, a right-of-center opinion channel whose hosts include Mr. O’Reilly, after being excoriated by Republicans for dumping the conservative news-and-commentary Newsmax network.

The First TV bills itself as having “the most powerful conservative voices in America,” including Jesse Kelly, Dana Loesch, Mike Slater and Liz Wheeler, as well as former Fox News Channel host Mr. O’Reilly.

Rob Thun, DirecTV chief content officer, said the platform “values different viewpoints and perspectives and will always work to preserve expansive choice among a wide variety of entertainment and information services.”

“As we’ve successfully done with other emerging channels, we look forward to helping The First continue to expand its audience reach, while constantly ensuring that our customers receive a strong value,” Mr. Thun said in a statement.

After nine years on DirecTV, Newsmax went dark at midnight Tuesday as negotiations over carriage fees hit a standstill. Newsmax said it had not been paid cable licensing fees despite having higher ratings than channels that were being paid.

SEE ALSO: DirectTV cuts off Newsmax, keeps channels with low ratings

Donald Trump Jr. joined a host of prominent Republicans in calling for customers to drop AT&T-owned DirecTV, blasting the decision to pull the plug on Newsmax as “outrageous.”

Conservatives accused DirecTV of political censorship, pointing out that it dropped the conservative One America News Network in April while continuing to carry multiple left-of-center news sites, including MSNBC and CNN.

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, tweeted: “I would cancel @DIRECTV for censoring @NEWSMAX but I already cancelled them for cancelling @OANN.”

“I guess @DIRECTV doesn’t want conservative viewers so maybe we should all just quit their services and go elsewhere,” Mr. Paul said.

A DirecTV spokesperson insisted that the carrier wanted to continue to offer Newsmax, but that its demand for rate increases would have resulted in higher costs that would have been passed on to customers.

“Adding The First to our channel lineup continues to give our customers a diverse lineup of perspectives without the financial burden,” said DirecTV in a Thursday tweet.

The First said Thursday that it will soon be found on DirecTV satellite channel 349 and U-Verse channel 1220.

“The First exists for the massive group of Americans whose voices have been ignored,” said The First in a press release. “The people who are passionate about American values, aren’t afraid to engage big ideas, and who care about where this country is headed.”


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