Donald Trump speaks at a Save America rally, where he denounced AT&T for its decision to drop OAN from DirecTV. Picture via YouTube.com
Former President Trump speaking at a Saturday rally in Florence, Arizona, said the San Diego-based OAN was being dropped by DirecTV because of politics and urged supporters to think twice before to use parent AT&T services.
Maybe what we should do is not use AT&T, he said at the event attended by OAN founder Robert Herring Sr. and his son Charles Herring, the president of the networks Trump has called patriots and great, great men.
All I can tell you is that people who tell the truth in America like One America News are under threat, Trump said. I love One America News (and) watch it all the time.
He said the OAN has done a great job, but the awakened leaders, I don’t know what they are doing; they have so much debt. AT&T is a company in great difficulty.
If we did what they do to Republican businesses, we would have no trouble, he said. It sounds like: Not pleasant. To the right?
Friday’s decision by Americas largest satellite provider to drop San Diego-based One America News could financially cripple the right-wing television network known for stoking 2020 election conspiracy theories.
Trump hints that One America News Network has been dropped by DirecTV and laments that the channel is “threatened” by “woke executives” at AT&T. He goes on to suggest people boycott AT&T. pic.twitter.com/0lho5yV0g0
Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 16, 2022
The announcement from DirecTV, 70% owned by AT&T, comes three months after a Reuters investigation found the OAN founder testified that AT&T inspired him to create the network. Court testimony also showed that OAN receives almost all of its revenue from DirecTV.
The Reuters report drew calls from some liberal groups for AT&T and DirecTV to drop OAN, a favorite of former President Donald Trump, as the network has become a key source of false claims about the election and COVID vaccinations.
The OAN websites’ brief report on the Save America rally did not mention the 45th president’s attack on AT&T, saying: Trump took aim at the Biden administration, saying few could have imagined what a disaster it would be for the country. He pointed to record inflation, supply chain issues, rising crime and Bidens’ failed pandemic response.
On Thursday, President Biden said COVID conspiracy theories put lives at risk.
I make a special appeal to social media companies and the media: please address the misinformation and misinformation that appears on your broadcasts, Biden said. It has to stop.
OAN is owned by Herring Networks, a family of conservative technology entrepreneurs. CEO Robert Herring Sr. did not respond to email and phone requests for comment. In an interview with Reuters last year, he said his network provided an important voice.
If I think I’m right, I’ll go, he said.
DirecTV, with approximately 15 million subscribers, is by far the largest operator in OAN. According to accountant OAN testimony reviewed by Reuters, DirecTV provided 90% of Conservative networks’ revenue.
We have informed Herring Networks that, following a routine internal review, we do not expect to enter into a new contract when our current agreement expires, DirecTV said in a statement.
The OAN-DirecTV contract is due to expire in the coming months. DirecTV began carrying OAN in April 2017, a deal that began shortly after OAN and AT&T settled a lawsuit over alleged oral promises during negotiations.
On Twitter, 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 outlet founded by Rupert Murdoch.
The Liberals applauded the news.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson called it a victory for us and for the future of democracy.
In a statement, Johnson added: At a time when we see our rights infringed, OAN seeks only to create further division. We must continually choose truth over lies and common sense over hysteria.
The news also follows a lawsuit filed Dec. 23 by two Georgian election officials who accused OAN and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani of spreading false claims of voter fraud against them in the aftermath of the presidential election in 2020. The allegations have been refuted by state authorities. OAN denied doing anything wrong.
DirecTV has not explained why it plans to drop OAN. Earlier, an AT&T spokesperson said the company airs numerous news channels offering viewpoints across the political spectrum.
The Reuters investigative report in October cited affidavits in which the OAN founder and his son testified that inspiration for the conservative network came from AT&T executives.
They told us they wanted a conservative network, the elder Herring said in 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 on it and built one.
During a 2020 court proceeding, a transcript shows, an OAN attorney told the court, if Herring Networks, for example, were to lose or not renew on DirecTV, the company would go bankrupt tomorrow.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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