After months of outrage and demands for accountability, DirecTV announced it would not renew its contract with conservative network One America News (OAN). Without DirecTV as a distribution platform, OAN will lose an overwhelming majority of its revenue.
“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,” DirecTV said in a statement shared by Reuters.
The current contract is set to expire in April.
CNN cited a previous Reuters report finding that OAN got 90 percent of its revenue from subscription fees from AT&T and affiliated platforms such as DirecTV. According to Reuters, court transcripts show OAN owner Herring Networks admitting that losing its relationship with DirecTV would put the network out of business.
“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,” said Nora Benavidez, the senior counsel and director, digital justice and civil rights at Free Press. “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.”
Free Press, Media Justice and Color of Change were a part of a coalition of civil rights and media justice organizations that penned an open letter in November to the CEOs of AT&T and DirecTV, citing the OAN’s penchant for disinformation and hate. As previously reported by NewsOne, Free Press and Media Justice were also among a group demanding Congress address racism and disinformation online.
OAN has developed a reputation for going where even FOX News won’t go. Groups have directly challenged AT&T’s alleged commitment to equality and justice for all, given the ongoing financial benefit in providing OAN with subscribers.
The network has been tied to some of the most egregious political and covid-19 disinformation. Allowing disinformation to have a large platform subsidized by a major corporation sends the wrong message given the widespread implications of the dual crisis in democracy and public health.
Benavidez also explained that no one is entitled to be broadcast by a major provider, noting the station can shape its programming however it wants.
“OANN can say whatever it wants on its own soapbox, but it does not have an automatic right to a national audience through DirecTV,” Benavidez said. “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.”