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DirecTV loss could cripple rightwing One America News

Stock MarketsJan 15, 2022 11:41PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith speaks to a reporter from One America News Network (OANN) from a bus window after a tour around a section of the U.S.-Mexico border on a Texas Highway Patrol vessel in Mission, Texas, U.S., March 26, 2021.

By John Shiffman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The largest satellite provider in the United States said late Friday it will drop One America News, a move that could financially cripple the rightwing TV network known for fueling conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

The announcement by DirecTV, which is 70% owned by AT&T (NYSE:T), comes three months after a Reuters investigation revealed that OAN’s founder testified that AT&T inspired him to create the network. Court testimony also showed that OAN receives nearly all of its revenue from DirecTV.

To read the Reuters report, click here: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-oneamerica-att

The Reuters report drew calls from some liberal groups for AT&T and DirecTV to drop OAN, a favorite of former President Donald Trump, because the network has become a key source of false claims about the election and COVID vaccinations.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden said COVID conspiracy theories are putting lives at risk. “I make a special appeal to social media companies and media outlets: Please deal with the misinformation and disinformation that’s on your shows,” Biden said. “It has to stop.”

OAN is owned by San Diego-based Herring Networks, a family of conservative tech entrepreneurs. CEO Robert Herring Sr did not respond to requests for comment by email and phone. In an interview with Reuters last year, he said his network provided an important voice. “If I think I’m right, I just go for it,” he said.

DirecTV, with approximately 15 million subscribers, is by far OAN’s largest carrier. According to testimony by OAN’s accountant reviewed by Reuters, DirecTV provided 90% of the conservative network’s revenue.

“We informed Herring Networks that, following a routine internal review, we do not plan to enter into a new contract when our current agreement expires,” DirecTV said in a statement.

The OAN-DirecTV contract is set to expire in the next several months. DirecTV began airing OAN in April 2017, a deal that began shortly after OAN and AT&T settled a lawsuit over alleged oral promises during negotiations.

Former President Trump, speaking at a rally in Florence, Arizona, said OAN was targeted because of politics and urged his supporters to think twice about using AT&T's services. "Maybe what we should do is not use AT&T," he said.

On Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), some conservatives expressed outrage that DirecTV and AT&T planned to drop OAN. “Corporate Media is crushing what little dissent remains,” tweeted former Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs.

The pro-Trump right, however, has powerful outlets on television and online, including Fox News, the conservative cable news outlet founded by Rupert Murdoch.

Liberals cheered the news. NAACP President Derrick Johnson called it “a victory for us and the future of democracy.” In a statement, Johnson added: “At a time when we are seeing our rights infringed upon, OAN only seeks to create further division. … We must continually choose truth over lies and common sense over hysteria.”

The news also follows a lawsuit filed on December 23 by two Georgia election workers who accused OAN and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani of spreading false vote-rigging claims about them in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. The claims were debunked by state authorities. OAN has denied it has done anything wrong.

DirecTV did not elaborate on why it planned to drop OAN. Earlier, an AT&T spokesman said the company airs “many news channels that offer viewpoints across the political spectrum.”

The Reuters investigative report in October cited sworn statements in which OAN’s founder and his son testified that the inspiration for the conservative network came from AT&T executives.

“They told us they wanted a conservative network,” the elder Herring said during a 2019 deposition. “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.”

During a 2020 court proceeding, a transcript shows, an OAN lawyer told the court, “If Herring Networks, for instance, was to lose or not be renewed on DirecTV, the company would go out of business tomorrow.”

DirecTV loss could cripple rightwing One America News
 

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Comments (11)
Jurjen Visser
Jurjen Visser Jan 16, 2022 10:36AM ET
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I guess Reuters is part of the cancel culture, no free speech allowed unless it falls in footstep with the left wing narrative, smells like a cult..
Tom Sc
Tom Sc Jan 16, 2022 10:23AM ET
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who cares, they present fake news to people with minimal brain cells.
Jurjen Visser
Jurjen Visser Jan 16, 2022 10:23AM ET
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Brain cells like Joe and Kamala? You must be very smart
John Laurens
John Laurens Jan 16, 2022 4:49AM ET
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I watch it free daily on Pluto. If you don't have a Roku tv, you need to get one. Roku gives us a massive amount of free content. ATT and directv are a complete joke anyway. If you're using them, you deserve to be a liberal.
Patron Silver
Patron Silver Jan 16, 2022 1:20AM ET
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hahaha
Tony Hall
Tony Hall Jan 16, 2022 1:00AM ET
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Regardless of your political prefenece, this should scare or concern every american. This is something they do in china, control the narrative. I am appolled that we are watching this unfold in our lifetime. All the lives lost over the course of our history and now we are turning into a communist regime. This is not what this country was founded on. Everyone needs to respect everone regardless of our differences, not attack with hatred. That used to be the principles of what guided this country and made us once the greatnest nation on earth. The world said we could not succeed with our difference that we would fail and now it appears they may be right as we head down this path. Makes me feel small in the whole scheme of things. You just want to shake peole and wake them up.
Gregory white
Gregory white Jan 16, 2022 1:00AM ET
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Arguing over policy differences is healthy for democracy. Spewing lies and false info like Alex Jones or Trump's election lies ruins countries. OANN is the same as if Russia was broadcasting anti-American rhetoric in our country. Maybe they wouldn't be getting pulled if they actually reported true information and not fake news that actually endangers the stability of our country.
Tony Hall
Tony Hall Jan 16, 2022 1:00AM ET
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Gregory white - Your not getting it, who determines the truth, you, someone eles. You brought Trump into your reply so your fixation to him determines it! The next time it could be your beliefs or even the the almighty himself. We have had a lot of non truths spread from the begining of our history but our individual rights give us a choice in this country to think free to turn the channel. According to your beliefs there will be very few channels left to watch if we allow this to go on. We the people will never agree but that used to be our strenghth we would still respect one another for our differences.
Chris Maz
ChristoM Jan 16, 2022 1:00AM ET
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Silencing the opposition is and has always has been an essential step toward complete authoritarianism.   I see people use the phrase "wake up" too much without really stating any examples.   These examples can found all through history from ancient Rome to Nazi Germany.   Even some of the greatest independent thinkers ever known who posed no threat other than to those in power ... Jesus, Buddha, Socrates, Ghandi, Martin L. King.  We are not living in an unprecedented time; we are reliving history in this time.
Andrew Ulferts
Andrew Ulferts Jan 15, 2022 11:55PM ET
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I cancelled Direct Tv after BLM ruined sports. I don’t get news from tv, then again, there is no real news on tv- especially if OANN is gone. I find it fascinating that this publication is calling the stolen election a conspiracy theory. There is so much proof. I guess you don’t see it if you don’t look for yourself. The fake news said it, it must be true.
Roger Bradley
Roger Bradley Jan 15, 2022 9:03PM ET
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Canceling my cell and direct tv. Its chit service anyway
Russ Jabara
Russ Jabara Jan 15, 2022 8:58PM ET
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If we're shutting down conspiracy theory networks, CNN and MSNBC are next.
John Avenetti
John Avenetti Jan 15, 2022 8:43PM ET
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if you're an actual American you should cancel it now.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Jan 15, 2022 8:38PM ET
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Direct tv cleaning out the the right wing ***organizations propaganda month piece.
 
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