DIRECTV says it will drop the conservative One America News (OAN) when its current carriage agreement with the news channel expires. (DIRECTV Stream and U-verse will also cut the channel from their lineups.)
“We informed Herring Networks (OAN’s owner) 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.
The satcaster did not say when the current agreement with OAN expires. But Bloomberg News, which first reported that DIRECTV would drop OAN, says it will end in April.
OAN, which has been a favorite channel of former President Trump, has been a political thorn in DIRECTV’s side since Reuters reported last October that AT&T encouraged Robert Herring, the owner of Herring Networks, to start the news channel several years ago. (AT&T was then the sole owner of DIRECTV. The communications giant has since sold a 30 percent minority stake to private equity firm, TPG.)
The article said AT&T promised Herring that DIRECTV would carry the channel, which would mean millions of dollars in carriage fees for his company. (AT&T has disputed the article’s main assertions.)
The Reuters story has triggered a wave of criticism towards AT&T from liberals who say the communications giant is responsible for creating a news channel that Democrats (and even some Republicans) allege engages in purposeful disinformation on topics such as vaccine effectiveness, the 2020 presidential election and the Covid-19 pandemic. OAN denies the charge, saying that it’s simply offering viewpoints that differ from those held by their opponents.
While OAN is also carried by Verizon and a few small cable operators, the loss of DIRECTV could make it difficult for the channel to survive.
DIRECTV’s decision to drop OAN could become more important if the satcaster decides to merge with Dish. Democrats, who are in control of the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission, the agencies that would rule on the merger, are not partial to OAN.
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