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DirecTV drops OAN in major blow to right-wing press operation

DirecTV on Friday announced plans to drop the right-wing One American News Network (OAN) media operation within months, causing a huge setback for the network that was a favorite of former President Donald Trump.

The satellite TV provider has told OAN owner Herring Networks Inc. that it will stop carrying the company’s two channels – OAN and lifestyle channel AWE – when their contract expires early April, according to Bloomberg, which was first to report the decision.

The controversial San Diego-based OAN relies heavily on DirectTV, one of America’s largest pay-TV providers, to deliver its channels to consumers. Without DirecTV, only Verizon FiOS and some smaller pay-TV providers will broadcast OAN news, according to its website.

“We have advised Herring Networks that, following a routine internal review, we do not expect to enter into a new contract upon the expiration of our current agreement,” DirecTV said in a statement to Bloomberg.

The company, owned by AT&T and TPG, did not provide a reason. But critics have repeatedly called for the company to drop OAN over the misinformation it promotes, including the baseless claim that the 2020 presidential election was somehow rigged against Trump, but also several conspiracy theories and dangerous misinformation about COVID-19.

Two OAN correspondents who gushed about the widely maligned audit of presidential votes in Maricopa County, Arizona last year also donated $605,000 to the vote verification operation, say revealed from the archives. Last year, Dominion Voting Systems sued OAN for $1.6 billion for defamation for allegedly spouting “verifiable but devastating lies about Dominion”.

Media watchdog Media Matters has been campaigning for more than a year to convince OAN cable companies to drop the channel.

“DirecTV has made the responsible decision to abandon OAN. OAN is a cauldron of disinformation and extremism,” Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, said Friday in a statement provided to HuffPost.

“DirecTV made a negligent mistake in 2021 by renewing its contract with OAN even after OAN spent weeks attacking the election and fanning the embers that helped fuel the January 6 insurgency. They gave the NAO a full year to undermine our democracy – and our country suffered.

DirecTV “has functionally supported OAN for years. Without DirecTV, OAN certainly wouldn’t exist in its current form, and maybe not at all,” Carusone added.

He called on Verizon FiOS to drop OAN as well.

John Bergmayer, legal director of advocacy group Public Knowledge, said late last year in a blog post that “NAO’s support for the ‘big lie’ that the 2020 election was stolen” , as well as conspiracy theories and disinformation about COVID-19, “turns him from a participant in the marketplace of ideas to a peddler of toxic lies.”

OAN could not immediately be reached for comment. There was no mention of the development on his Twitter feed.

DirecTV has offered OAN programming to customers since 2017.




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