Did Elon Musk threaten in a series of tweets to block DirecTV's satellite dishes after the TV provider banned NewsMax from their channel lineup? No, that's not true: The story is labeled satire on the website that published it. SpaceXMania, the website where the article originated, wrote in its disclaimer that every story labeled Satire is "fiction." There is no evidence on Twitter or on Google News that credible outlets reported Musk making the threat.
The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by SpaceXMania on February 3, 2023, under the title "Billionaire Elon Musk Threatens to Halt DirecTV's Satellites Over Newsmax Ban." The article opened:
Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur known for his ventures in electric cars, space travel, and tunnel digging, has taken on a new challenge: TV satellite warfare.
This is what the article looked like at the time of writing:
(Source: SpaceXMania screenshot taken on Mon Feb 6 15:26:22 2023 UTC)
The SpaceXMania article summarizes the claim that Musk threatened in a series of tweets to block DirecTV's satellites if DirecTV didn't allow NewsMax's channel to be viewed by DirecTV customers. The article claims that Musk tweeted, "DirecTV has declared war on free speech," but when we searched Twitter for that exact phrase from Musk, no results appeared. It is possible that the tweet could have been deleted, but the article does not mention that or link to the tweet for Lead Stories to check.
At the very end of the article is the statement, "Disclaimer: This is satire, not real news." SpaceXMania's has Google's first definition of satire at the top with their Satire page (example of search here). There is also a small satire tag in black and gray underneath the picture of Musk and NewsMax's headquarters at the top of the article.
SpaceXMania's Disclaimer page also includes the satire definition and a new statement saying that every story labeled satire is "fiction."
Google News yielded no relevant results to a search for "Elon Musk threatens DirecTV NewsMax."
SpaceXMania appears similar to fake news sites run by Christopher Blair, a self-described Internet troll who also runs dunning-kruger-times.com and queenstories.com, two other satirical sites that carry very similar disclaimer wordings on satire.
Christopher Blair is a self-professed liberal from Maine who for years has run networks of websites set up to troll conservatives with made up news items in order to get them to share his posts. He often goes by the nickname "Busta Troll". A 2018 BBC profile called Blair "the Godfather of fake news," describing him as "one of the world's most prolific writers of disinformation."
Here you can find some of the many, many stories from Blair's websites Lead Stories debunked over the years.
More Lead Stories fact checks about Elon Musk can be found here.