Newsmax, a conservative media outlet that has aired conspiracy theories about January 6 and the 2020 election, will continue to be available to Verizon customers under a “multi-year” agreement announced Wednesday.
The deal comes just days after Newsmax’s far-right competitor, One America News Network, failed to reach an agreement of its own with Verizon, The Daily Beast reported, leaving it without a major cable distributor.
In a statement, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said he was “delighted” by the new agreement, which will allow the company to reach some 3.5 million people, and praised Verizon for continuing to distribute its content.
“We have found them to be outstanding partners who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the presentation of diverse, independent voices through their programming,” Ruddy said.
A representative for Verizon confirmed that a deal had been reached but did not offer further details.
The agreement with Newsmax comes despite criticism that the channel frequently provides more than just a conservative slant. In a report released earlier this month, NewsGuard, a company that monitors disinformation, said Newsmax had over the span of a month broadcast dozens of false claims about the January 6 insurrection and subsequent congressional hearings on the US Capitol Riot, including that former President Donald Trump had requested troops from the National Guard — a claim rebutted by his defense secretary.
“If you’re watching Newsmax, you may come away with an entirely different feeling of what happened at the hearings, and what happened on January 6,” NewsGuard’s Jack Brewster told The Associated Press.
In a statement to Insider, Newsmax said the NewsGuard report mischaracterized their coverage. “The types of instances they cite about guests not being challenged or corrected during the course of an opinion program can be selected from virtually any broadcast opinion program on any network virtually every day,” the statement read.
Verizon has insisted that its decision to sign a carrier agreement with a right-wing media organization has nothing to do with the views expressed on such channels.
In a statement earlier this month to The Daily Beast, a Verizon spokesperson said its negotiations with One America News Network had “focused on economics,” attributing the failure to reach an agreement to the channel rejecting “fair terms.”
Yosef Getachew, Media & Democracy program director at the watchdog group Common Cause, criticized that content-neutral approach, citing Newsmax’s pattern of sharing false claims — not just from guests, but employees — about fraud in the 2020 election, which a judge recently concluded the network knew “were probably false” at the time they aired.
“Newsmax has amplified and aired content about the Big Lie, mischaracterized the January 6th insurrection, and is continuing to fuel election disinformation, which is damaging our democracy,” Getachew told Insider. “And it’s Verizon that profits off that.”
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