Yesterday, Reuters revealed that One America News, the far-right network and official Trump bootlick, was envisioned and is sustained by deals with AT&T Inc, the world’s largest communications company. Wonder how shareholders feel about this?
A Reuters review of court records shows the role AT&T played in creating and funding OAN, a network that continues to spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic.
OAN founder and chief executive Robert Herring Sr has testified that the inspiration to launch OAN in 2013 came from AT&T executives.
“They told us they wanted a conservative network,” Herring said during a 2019 deposition seen by Reuters. “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.”
(Got that? The mainstream broadcast channels are considered left-wing.)
According to Reuters, court records show that AT&T has supplied tens of millions of dollars in revenue. “Ninety percent of OAN’s revenue came from a contract with AT&T-owned television platforms, including satellite broadcaster DirecTV, according to 2020 sworn testimony by an OAN accountant,” Reuters reported.
Herring has testified he was offered $250 million for OAN in 2019. Without the DirecTV deal, the accountant said under oath, the network’s value “would be zero.”
AT&T issued a statement saying it has “never had a financial interest in OAN’s success and does not ‘fund’ OAN.” Hmm. How much did they pay their crisis coms team to come up with that one?
Now, the monopoly deals cable providers have cut with Fox make it impossible (with rare exceptions) to reject the cable channel. And much like this setup with DirecTV, the bulk of their revenues comes from that support, not ad revenue.
You might want to let your elected officials know how you feel about how these monopoly deals affect your freedom to choose.