DirecTV announced in January the digital satellite service would no longer carry One America News Network (OAN), owned by Herring Networks. The decision prompted a lawsuit by OAN in response Tuesday, arguing that DirecTV’s refusal to carry OAN could shut it down entirely.
“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,” the company told USA Today two months ago, without expanding on its definition of an “internal review.”
The decision to drop the channel by OAN’s largest distributor is expected to take OAN off DirecTV airwaves by the end of April and threatens the outlet’s ability to operate in a crowded media environment. It’s essentially canceling the network from cable. Six Republican attorneys general last week issued a letter asking DirecTV to reverse its decision to cancel OAN.
The move also signals a sharp escalation of the weaponizing private market power to silence political dissidents. Silicon Valley has already engaged in rampant censorship, complete with a routine purge of those who don’t propagate the party lines.
Former President Donald Trump, who was banned from Twitter and Facebook at the end of his presidency while the Kremlin remains active on both, condemned the corporate censorship on Monday after calling for a boycott of DirectTV last month if the company owned by AT&T follows through on its decision.
“Time Warner, the owner of Fake News CNN, has just announced that they will be terminating a very popular and wonderful news network (OAN),” Trump said in a statement. “Between heavily indebted Time Warner, and Radical Left comcast, which runs Xfinity, there is a virtual monopoly on news, thereby making what you hear from the LameStream Media largely FAKE, hence the name FAKE NEWS!”
Trump may have confused Time Warner and DirecTV. While DirecTV made its plans clear, no reporting as of this writing suggests Time Warner is planning to follow suit. Neither Time Warner nor representatives for OAN responded to The Federalist’s inquiries.
Corporate collusion to strip a network off the airwaves, beginning with DirecTV’s crusade against OAN, would set a dangerous precedent. The left’s strategy to ban its way to a monopoly on discourse includes opposition silencing and self-righteous fact-checking. Never mind strict standards of censoring disinformation would have kicked every leftist news network off air years ago from endless amplification of the Russian collusion hoax alone.
Today it’s OAN. Tomorrow it could be Newsmax, and eventually Fox News, a more likely predicament if the network didn’t make satellite distributors so much money.
But what’s behind DirecTV’s decision to target OAN? As of now, its rival conservative networks remain untouched.
The move ostensibly comes from sealed findings in the corporate powerhouse’s “internal review” of its relationship with OAN. A spokesperson told NPR in January rising programming costs was driving the decision. The review is likely a smokescreen for executives dissatisfied with the network’s narratives, especially its reporting on the 2020 election.
Three days after Election Day in 2020, AT&T, the majority owner of DirecTV, announced that William Kennard, an alum of both the Clinton and Obama administrations, would chair AT&T’s board of directors. Kennard is also listed as an executive board member of the global equity firm Staple Street Capital. In 2018, Staple Street Capital acquired Dominion Voting Systems, the electoral tabulation company that came under fire after the 2020 election.
Fox News and Newsmax retracted their networks’ reporting on Dominion Voting Systems in the aftermath of the 2020 contest. OAN has not.
Is DirecTV’s move to cancel OAN a business decision for the satellite provider? Or is it a political decision? Regardless, the cancellation of entire news networks by satellite providers is a new level of private censorship against non-leftist views.