WASHINGTON — Pay-TV provider DIRECTV plans to drop One America News Network in April at the end of their carriage contract, according to reports from Bloomberg News and CNN Friday evening.
The move follows months of public pressure led by Free Press, Color Of Change, Common Cause, Media Matters for America and other allies, who protested AT&T’s role in helping build and finance the right-wing network. OANN played a pivotal role in spreading Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” about the 2020 presidential election result and celebrating the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
“Whether it’s the white-supremacist attack on the U.S. Capitol or the wall-to-wall COVID-19 disinformation, OANN is putting lives and our democracy at risk,” according to one of the petitions that were signed by more than a hundred thousand people and delivered to executives at AT&T and DIRECTV. “This company is an active and present threat to our communities. Drop it now.”
According to a Reuters report last year, OANN founder and CEO Robert Herring Sr. had testified that the inspiration to launch OANN in 2013 came from AT&T executives. AT&T owns a 70 percent share of DIRECTV and was instrumental in seeing the multimillion-dollar carriage deal that aired the network’s programs to a national audience.
In November, 16 leading civil-rights, human-rights and media-justice organizations sent a letter calling on the CEOs of AT&T and DIRECTV to end their business relationships with OANN.
Nora Benavidez, Free Press’ senior counsel and director, digital justice and civil rights, said:
"Two months ago, we led a coalition of civil rights organizations urging DIRECTV and AT&T to cut their ties with One America News, a national platform for disinformation and hate. The dangerous conspiracies and lies regularly aired on OANN have worsened a public-health crisis and given oxygen to baseless claims about the irrefutable outcome of our last presidential election.
“OANN can say whatever it wants on its own soapbox, but it does not have an automatic right to a national audience through DIRECTV. We welcome the news that DIRECTV has made the decision to stop carrying OANN, especially knowing millions of viewers will no longer be subsidizing this hateful and dishonest content with their monthly pay-TV bills."