DirecTV is dropping One America News Network from its lineup, a surprise move that's sure to deal a massive blow to the network that rose to prominence during the presidency of Donald Trump.
Bloomberg reported Friday that the satellite TV provider notified the owner of OAN, Herring Networks Inc., that it would no longer carry the company's two channels when their contract expires. The other channel, A Wealth of Entertainment, dubs itself a lifestyle channel that features luxury goods.
In a statement, DirecTV said it made the decision "following a routine internal review." A DirecTV spokesperson told NPR that the company looks at a wide variety of factors in deciding whether to renew a contract. The question for DirecTV was whether OAN's programming appeals to a broad enough base of customers, given increasing programming costs and more competition for consumers.
Ultimately, the spokesperson said, business needs drove the decision — and keeping the Herring Networks programming simply wasn't in the best interests of DirecTV.
AT&T, a majority owner of DirecTV, has faced calls to drop OAN for its support of conservative conspiracy theories — such as the falsehood pushed by Trump and many Republicans that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
"OAN's support for the 'Big Lie' that the 2020 election was stolen and the fact that it's consistently giving airtime to conspiracy theories and misinformation on COVID-19, moves it from a participant in the marketplace of ideas to a peddler of toxic lies," John Bergmayer, legal director of the nonprofit advocacy group Public Knowledge, said in November. The group was among those advocating for cable and satellite providers to drop OAN.
The DirecTV spokesman declined to comment on whether OAN's specific editorial policies had anything to do with the decision to drop the network, but said that calls from outside groups didn't drive the decision.
OAN did not respond to requests for comment.
AT&T faced heavy criticism last year after a Reuters report found that the telecom giant played an integral role in OAN's 2013 launch. "They told us they wanted a conservative network," OAN founder Robert Herring Sr. said in a court deposition, Reuters reported.
AT&T carried OAN on its U-verse platform. But after AT&T finalized its purchase of DirecTV in 2015, AT&T declined to carry OAN or any other Herring programming. Herring sued AT&T, alleging it had broken an oral promise; AT&T agreed as part of a settlement to carry OAN in 2017.
In 2020, an OAN accountant testified that 90% of OAN's revenue came from a contract with AT&T owned platforms such as DirecTV, Reuters reported. In response to the Reuters report, AT&T denied having a financial interest in OAN's success.
Bloomberg reports that the contract between DirectTV and Herring Networks expires in early April. OAN is still available on Verizon FiOS and a few other platforms, including the Herring Networks-owned KlowdTV.