Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Sipa USA (Sipa via AP Images)
Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.The far right-wing One America News Network will lose the vast majority of its distribution in April, thanks to a decision by DirecTV to drop the conspiracy-spouting pro-Trump channel.
On Friday, DirecTV announced that it had informed Herring Networks, OAN’s parent company, that OAN’s current contract would not be renewed when it expires in April. No reason was given, but Bloomberg reports that pay-TV providers have been dropping channels with lower viewership in an attempt to lower costs as subscribers turn to online alternatives.
From the beginning, the network has positioned itself far to the right of even Fox News, regularly featuring pundits who aren’t welcome on other channels and aggressively promoting stories involving conspiracy theories, including the Seth Rich conspiracy, COVID denialism, and anti-vaccine disinformation. OAN cemented its position as former president Donald Trump’s favorite network after the 2020 election by continuing to question the election results well after Fox and other major news networks declared Joe Biden the winner.
Despite its popularity with Trump and his circle of supporters, OAN currently has fairly limited distribution. Following DirecTV’s decision Verizon’s FiOS service is the only television provider to still offer OAN. But DirecTV was the channel’s major source of revenue and viewership. According to a Reuters report last year, top AT&T executives were involved with the founding of the channel—channel founder Robert Herring Sr. has testified that AT&T executives told him they wanted a conservative alternative to promote—and up to 90 percent of the channel’s revenue came through DirecTV’s viewership.
And the channel was already facing a number of potentially costly battles over its content, including a $1.6 billion lawsuit filed against the network by Dominion Voting Systems over false claims the channel made accusing the company of involvement with voter fraud in the 2020 election.