WASHINGTON – No. 1-rated Fox News Channel was unceremoniously dropped by Dish Network Saturday night – surprising viewers who were told Fox had pulled the programming from the satellite TV system.
Fox climbed to the top of the ladder in cable news by offering what it calls “fair and balanced” programing – and what many progressives, including Barack Obama, call biased.
Dish used the pretext of stalled negotiations over a new distribution deal to pull the plug on both Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network – two favorites of conservatives and independent thinkers.
Dish, which has for weeks been negotiating a new carriage contract for the 21st Century Fox channels, said the channels were blocked after Fox introduced fee increases for other sports and information channels not part of the original contract.
“It’s like we’re about to close on a house and the realtor is trying to make us buy a new car as well,” Warren Schlichting, Dish’s senior vice president of programming, said in a statement. “Fox blacked out two of its news channels, using them as leverage to triple rates on sports and entertainment channels that are not in this contract.”
While officials said they offered a short-term contract extension to keep the channels on the air, Fox claims Dish disconnected the channels “in an attempt to intimidate and sway our negotiations.”
“It is unfortunate that the millions of Fox News viewers on Dish were used as pawns by their provider,” Tim Carry, executive vice president of distribution at Fox News Channel, said in a statement. “Hopefully they will vote with their hard earned money and seek another one of our other valued distributors immediately.”
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