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DirecTV Drops Far-Right Channel OAN News

The move may set off a backlash against the satellite-TV company in which AT&T holds a 70% stake.

DirecTV has exposed itself to a social media backlash as it has made the decision to drop far-right news channel One America Network (OAN) and its sister channel, Wealth of Entertainment.

The satellite provider, which operates as a standalone after being spun-off from former corporate parent AT&T (T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report, which still holds a 70% stake in the company, did not claim a political motive for the move.

“We 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.

Both OAN and a Wealth of Entertainment are owned by Herring Networks, which was founded by Robert Herring Sr.

Far right-wing voices see the move as being political and took to Twitter to express their disdain.

That general tone -- the idea that OAN was being censored for political reasons -- trended on the social media site. OAN captured 7% of people who identify as Republican, according to Pew Research. That relatively small audience, however, has been extremely devoted to the channel.

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OAN Has Been Controversial

Although it was originally founded in 2013, OAN rose to prominence during the Donald Trump presidency. The network bills itself as a news channel, but it has generally operated as a supplier of unchecked information designed to bring in right-wing viewers.

"OAN, which rose to prominence amid the triumph and tumult of the administration of then-President Donald Trump, has been criticized for spreading conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 election," wrote the Jerusalem Post

AT&T Made OAN Possible

AT&T played a major role in OAN being created by Herring, according to a Reuters investigation.

“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 [left-wing] side. When they said that, I jumped to it and built one.”

AT&T, which used to fully own DirecTV, provided OAN with tens of millions of dollars, according to court records. "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," the news service reported.

The telephone and internet giant has denied ever being a source of funding for OAN. AT&T does not own a stake in OAN.