AT&T is reportedly One America Information’ main monetary backer

Jon Fingas

Telecoms have lengthy been accused of making an attempt to skew politics, however a brand new report suggests AT&T may need gone additional than most. In accordance to The Verge, Reuters reviews that AT&T is a serious backer for One America Information Community (OAN), a right-wing media outlet YouTube briefly banned final November for spreading misinformation. Whereas a number of TV suppliers carry the channel, an OAN accountant testified in 2020 that 90 p.c of OAN mum or dad Herring Networks’ income, tens of thousands and thousands of {dollars}, got here by means of offers with AT&T-owned platforms that included DirecTV.

OAN founder Robert Herring individually testified that AT&T executives impressed him to launch the community in 2013 after taking a look at a media panorama with comparatively few conservative retailers. Court docket paperwork additionally indicated that AT&T supplied to purchase a 5 p.c fairness stake in OAN and Herring’s life-style channel AWE, though the 2 ended up selecting a unique settlement.

OAN even claimed that one AT&T government, Aaron Slator, supplied to place the channel on DirecTV in return for assist lobbying for the satellite tv for pc broadcaster’s 2014 merger. The Herring household additionally supposedly met FCC officers to speak concerning the merger and communicate properly of AT&T in information tales. AT&T has denied making the supply linked to Slator, and an OAN lawsuit alleging a breach of that deal supposedly led to AT&T including OAN to DirecTV’s choice.

AT&T rejected claims of undue affect in responses to Reuters and The Verge. The provider maintained that DirecTV “doesn’t dictate” channel programming, and that DirecTV merger help was “by no means a situation of or a part of” any content material carriage settlement. In a Twitter assertion, AT&T maintained it “by no means had a monetary curiosity” in OAN and that the choice to hold the community was now in DirecTV’s fingers.

The priority, as you may think, is that AT&T could have contributed to the unfold of misinformation with out being held to account like on-line suppliers and different firms. On prime of YouTube suspending OAN following a violation of COVID-19 misinformation guidelines, voting machine maker Dominion sued the community in August this yr over unproven claims of election fraud. If the report is correct, there might simply be strain on AT&T to distance itself from OAN and focus extra on its core companies than politics.

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