Far right pro-Trump network OAN is funded almost entirely by AT&T: Reuters
The far right wing cable network One America News (OAN) is funded almost entirely by telecom and tech giant AT&T.
OAN, which is even more far right than Fox News or Newsmax, served as a mouthpiece for the Trump administration and is being sued in a $1.6 billion defamation case by Dominion Voting Systems. The extremist network regularly promotes far right wing conspiracy theories as it attacks Democrats and the left.
OAN, according to a Reuters special report, is "at the center of a bitter national divide over politics and truth."
But it's how OAN got there that is disturbing for the AT&T brand.
"AT&T has been a crucial source of funds flowing into OAN," Reuters notes, adding: "Ninety percent of OAN's revenue came from a contract with AT&T-owned television platforms, including satellite broadcaster DirecTV, according to 2020 sworn testimony by an OAN accountant."
AT&T, the world's largest telecom company and majority owner of DirecTV, has funneled "about $57 million" into OAN. The "news" network's founder and CEO, Robert Herring Sr., "has testified he was offered $250 million for OAN in 2019. Without the DirecTV deal, the accountant said under oath, the network's value 'would be zero.'"
"If Herring Networks, for instance, was to lose or not be renewed on DirecTV, the company would go out of business tomorrow," OAN lawyer Patrick Nellies told the court, a transcript shows.
How did a far right wing "propaganda machine," as The Daily Beast called OAN in 2019, come into being, seemingly overnight?
"They told us they wanted a conservative network," Herring said during a 2019 deposition seen by Reuters. "They only had one, which was Fox News, and they had seven others on the other [leftwing] side. When they said that, I jumped to it and built one."
Numerous reports have documented OAN's lies, propaganda, and mistruths, yet despite – or because of – that, Reuters notes, over a two-year period "Trump touted the network, known as @OANN online, to his 88 million Twitter followers at least 120 times."
Read the entire Reuters report here.
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