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One America News Network’s viewers are likely not fans of AT&T content programming, which includes CNN, HLN, Bleacher Report, and HBO’s John Oliver. Ideologically, AT&T and OAN are enemies. Yet despite those differences, the two have found a partnership unearthed on Wednesday.
Reuters revealed in court findings that OAN is almost entirely funded by AT&T:
“One America News, the far-right network whose fortunes and viewership rose amid the triumph and tumult of the Trump administration, has flourished with support from a surprising source: AT&T Inc, the world’s largest communications company.
“A Reuters review of court records shows the role AT&T played in creating and funding OAN, a network that continues to spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The finding adds that Robert Herring, OAN founder and chief executive, testified that the inspiration to launch OAN in 2013 came from an AT&T executive. Some snappy New York Times writer is waiting for that executive’s name, I assume.
“[AT&T] 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.”
Since OAN’s launch, AT&T has provided the network with tens of millions of dollars in revenue, court records show. Get this, 90% of OAN’s revenue came from a contract with AT&T-owned television platforms, including satellite broadcaster DirecTV. So do the math.
“Herring 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.’
An AT&T spokesman declined to comment on the testimony, only saying that DirecTV broadcasts “many news channels that offer viewpoints across the political spectrum.”
It’s revealing that AT&T would help build OAN privately, though publicly crush the network’s viewpoints. AT&T doesn’t want the media to know it had involvement in OAN’s creation, while knowing the company has some level of upside. It’s smart business.
For those still wrapping their heads around the report, to sum:
AT&T owns WarnerMedia, the parent company of CNN, and helped fund OAN. Meaning, Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon, and Jake Tapper are, at least, work cousins with the most pro-Trump network on the air. That’s hilarious.