‘Real Americans’ held hostage: Fox News blackout on Dish Network enters second week
Dish Network subscribers who are fans on Fox News’ “fair and balanced” reporting are entering the second week of not being able to watch their favorite Fox hosts, as the war between the network and the cable provider shows no sign of letting up.
Dish Network pulled the plug on both Fox News and the Fox Business Network on Dec. 20, after the two sides could not agree on a new contract, with Dish claiming Fox was using their popular news shows as leverage to overcharge for other Fox programming the provider was less interested in.
The resulting blackout led Fox to unleash their loyal viewers on Dish, via Facebook, with threats of cancellation unless Fox News was made available to Dish’s 13 million subscribers again.
The war of words continued through Christmas with Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen issuing a Christmas Eve video statement attacking Fox, according to Variety.
Ergen claimed that Fox is using their news programs as hostages as the network seeks to increase fees for an “unrelated channel.” He went on to state that Fox was seeking fee hikes despite the fact that Dish’s contract for the other unspecified channel “would not have expired for some time.”
“Ironically, Fox News would be the first network to decry this kind of deal-making,” Ergen stated. “There’s nothing about this extortion attempt that was fair or balanced.”
Ergen went on to say that he believes “it’s important for Dish to fight in these situations” because Dish Network’s subscribers would “ultimately pay the price” for fee increases.
Fox struck back the day after Christmas, issuing a statement reading: “Since Dish dropped Fox News, Dish has focused on shifting blame instead of getting Fox News back on the air. But the facts speak for themselves – Dish has blocked more than 10 channels in the last six months alone. We continue to work on resolving this situation, but until Dish is responsive, we are unable to update you on when Fox News will be available.”
Fox went on to say that 178,000 complaint calls have been received on a toll-free line they set-up for the Dish fight, along with 140,000-plus emails.