DirecTV plans to drop One America News Network, the right-wing channel known for its pro-Donald Trump coverage and commentary.
The satellite provider, one of the largest distribution outlets, also plans to drop another channel, AWE, from OANN parent Herring Networks
“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,” a DirecTV spokesperson confirmed Friday.
According to Bloomberg, which first reported the news, DirecTV’s contract with Herring Networks expires in early April. DirecTV will continue to carry its programming through their existing agreement. DirecTV began carrying OAN in April 2017.
Trump has cited the channel as one of his favorites — an interview with him ran this week — and he singled it out in the aftermath of the presidential election. OAN, which advanced his unfounded claims that the 2020 election was rigged, is facing defamation lawsuits from two election systems companies, Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems.
A representative from Herring Networks did not immediately return a request for comment.
In October, Reuters ran an investigative report on how AT&T, which spun off DirecTV last year but retains a 70% share in the company, nurtured OAN, and how the rightward channel drew the bulk of its revenue from the telecom’s platforms. Reuters reported that Robert Herring Sr. testified in a deposition that AT&T executives urged him to launch the channel in 2013. DirecTV has said that OAN was just one channel it has carried across the political spectrum.
OAN has been the target of public interest groups that have called on distributors to stop carrying the channel, citing its spread of conspiracy theories and misinformation about Covid-19. In November, YouTube suspended OAN for one week for posting a video that trumpeted a bogus cure for Covid.
Angelo Carusone, the president of the progressive watchdog group Media Matters, said in a statement that DirecTV “has been functionally propping up OAN for years. Without DirecTV, OAN would certainly not exist in its current form and possibly not at all.” He called for other distributors, including Verizon FiOS, to drop the channel.
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