‘We are glad to see DirecTV make the right decision – No company should profit from spreading content that endangers our democracy.’
Late yesterday, Bloomberg reported that DirecTV will stop carrying One America News Network (OANN) when its contract runs out in April.
AT&T has a 70% equity stake in DirecTV. An October 2021 investigation by Reuters documented AT&T’s role in creating and funding OANN.
On November 8, 2021, a coalition of civil-rights, human-rights and media-justice organizations called on AT&T and DirecTV to end their business relationships with OANN. In a letter to the corporations’ Chief Executive Officers, the 16 groups said that OANN undermines democracy and public health:
Since its inception, OANN has provided an open platform for purveyors of disinformation to spread dangerous and hateful messages that undermine our democracy. From amplifying conspiracy theories to giving domestic disinformation agents a place where they may promote white supremacist talking points to providing a supportive platform for Donald Trump and his administration, the network is a critical part of a far-right media system that peddles racist conspiracy theories online and off.…[OANN] played a role in fomenting the Jan. 6 deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. OANN is continuing to run content that spreads election disinformation and seeks to cast doubt over the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The company has a history of featuring false information about the pandemic, which breeds distrust in public health officials and in the efficacy of the vaccine. In November 2020, the OANN YouTube channel featured information about a guaranteed “cure” for COVID which YouTube flagged as violating its COVID-specific misinformation policies. YouTube suspended the OANN channel for the violation and remarked that the “demonetization of all OANN content will be permanent, unless the network addresses its issues.”
More than 120,000 people have signed a petition urging AT&T to “to cut all ties with this network — and to stop aiding the proliferation of deadly disinformation for a profit.”
According to OANN’s website, the network’s content will still be available on Verizon FiOS and a variety of smaller pay-tv providers and streaming services.
Statement of Yosef Getachew, Common Cause Media & Democracy Program Director
No company should profit from spreading content that endangers our democracy.
We are glad to see DirecTV make the right decision: to drop OANN at the end of its contract.
The network is a known perpetrator of disinformation and extremism, fueling real-world violence and placing the health and safety of so many in jeopardy.
Common Cause is proud to have partnered with Free Press, Color Of Change, National Hispanic Media Coalition, 18 Million Rising, MediaJustice, Media Matters for America and other groups in calling on DirecTV and AT&T to cut all financial ties with OANN.
We hope that Verizon and other providers will follow DirecTV’s lead, and also sever business ties with the network.