DirecTV Drops Truth-Defying One America News Network

One America News Network is getting a kick out of its biggest distributor.

DirecTV plans to abandon the mega-MAGA channel, as well as its sister AWE (“A Wealth of Entertainment”), both owned by Herring Networks, when OAN’s current contract with the satellite provider expires in April, the company said, noting that Herring has been notified of the decision. Bloomberg was the first to report the news.

“We have informed Herring Networks that, following a routine internal review, we do not plan to enter into a new contract when our current agreement expires,” a DirecTV spokesperson said in a statement.

Subscribers will no longer find OAN among their channel lineup beginning in early April, nor will they be able to watch it through any of the other major US cable providers, which don’t offer it. AT&T, one of DirecTV’s parent companies, played a key role in creating OANN, a lengthy Reuters report revealed last year.

DirecTV’s decision represents an existential threat to the right-wing cable channel. An accountant for OAN testified under oath in 2019 that the value of OAN without a contract with DirecTV “would be zero.” A source familiar with the network told The Daily Beast that OAN has struggled to fully staff its operations in recent months.

OAN prevailed over DirecTV through a lawsuit in 2017, forcing the satellite company to transmit its programming as part of an agreement. Contracts between channels and cable providers typically run for three to five years, and competition among television providers has intensified in the past five years with the proliferation of streaming services. Customers have chosen to pay for a few select services instead of a gigantic cable package. OAN has also launched its own streaming app. Although DirecTV is by far the network’s largest audience stream, it’s also available through lesser-known providers like Verizon ViOS and KlowdTV.com, according to its website.

Since its entry into cable, OAN has risen to prominence with a devoted pro-Donald Trump loyalism and support from the former president. He even got a spot in the lauded White House Briefing Room only to lose it after his correspondent flouted coronavirus restrictions. His most notable moments came when Trump disparaged Fox News for not getting close enough to his party line and instead turned to OAN.

OAN has also stirred up more controversy in its brief rise than other media outlets in their lifetime. The network is currently litigating a $1 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems in August. An anchor called for the mass execution of thousands of Americans last year over false claims of voter fraud promoted by Trump and his allies. OAN hosts have promoted outlandish and labyrinthine conspiracy theories in support of Trump’s “Big Lie” that he won the 2020 election and about the coronavirus pandemic. In 2019, The Daily Beast also revealed that the network employed a journalist on the Kremlin’s payroll.

The network has been hatching plans to expand lately, including hopes for a Spanish-language channel. Such a drastic cut in distribution by DirecTV has the potential to shatter those dreams.

Neither OAN nor Charles Herring, president of Herring Networks, immediately responded to requests for comment from The Daily Beast late Friday.

Zachary Petrizzo and Justin Baragona contributed to this report.

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