DirecTV announced on Friday it was dropping the far right-wing cable channel One America News Network in April. The channel has long been criticized for spreading conspiracy theories and lies about the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump has been a fan of OANN, even allowing one of its “reporters” to attend White House briefings. DirecTV is owned by AT&T.
OAN depends heavily on DirecTV, its largest distributor, to reach its audience. The channel is still carried on Verizon FiOS and smaller pay-TV providers, according to its website. The broadcast can also be streamed via an online-TV service called KlowdTV. OAN has never been carried by Comcast Corp., Charter Communications Inc.or Dish Network Corp., three other major providers.Bloomberg
CNN’S Brian Stelter adds:
DirecTV played it straight on Friday night, saying in a statement that a ‘routine internal review’ led to the decision. But there’s nothing routine about a MAGA media channel that worships Donald Trump, runs conspiracy theories on a loop, and refuses to acknowledge real news events. Many advocacy groups have been urging TV providers to drop the channel. Now that it has happened, will someTrump fans complain? Definitely. But DirecTV is getting ahead of the backlash by sharing the news now, three months in advance, so customers can take action. For a while now, OAN has been encouraging fans to sign up for a streaming service to tune in, perhaps anticipating DirecTV’s ax…”CNN Reliable Sources Newsletter
Bloomberg quotes critic John Bergmayer, who wrote in a November blog post that “OAN’s support for the ‘Big Lie’ that the 2020 election was stolen and the fact that it’s consistently giving airtime to conspiracy theories and misinformation on COVID-19, moves it from a participant in the marketplace of ideas to a peddler of toxic lies.”
A Reuters investigation in 2021 found:
A Reuters review of court records shows the role AT&T played in creating and funding OAN, a network that continues to spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic.
OAN founder and chief executive Robert Herring Sr has testified that the inspiration to launch OAN in 2013 came from AT&T executives.
“They told us they wanted a conservative network,” Herring said during a 2019 deposition seen by Reuters. “They only had one, which was Fox News, and they had seven others on the other [leftwing] side. When they said that, I jumped to it and built one.”