Did AT&T create and fund a fake news network?

A bombshell report from Reuters asserts that OAN, the relentlessly pro-Trump network that supports the Big Lie, is largely a creation of Dallas-based AT&T.

Asked why he created OAN, Herring said, “To make money, number one.” But he didn’t stop there. “Number two, is that AT&T told us … they wanted a conservative network.”

Asked if “AT&T kind of dictated the kind of network that they wanted?”, Herring replied, “Yes, sir.”

According to the Reuters story, OAN founder Robert Herring Sr. testified in a 2019 deposition that, “They told us they wanted a conservative network. 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.”

The Reuters report also asserted that, if AT&T decided to drop OAN, the network would immediately be financially unviable.

AT&T, it must be noted, has issued a flat denial. In fact, a company spokesperson claimed, “When AT&T acquired DirecTV, we refused to carry OAN on that platform, and OAN sued DirecTV as a result. Four years ago, DirecTV reached a commercial carriage agreement with OAN, as it has with hundreds of other channels and as OAN has done with the other TV providers that it carries on its programming.”

In other words, its all DirecTV’s fault.

Reuters alleges that 90% of OAN revenue is generated by its contract with AT&T and DirecTV.

Somebody is lying here. Did AT&T invent a mindless, Trump-supporting, faux-network? I want an answer.

A few months ago, my wife and I, somewhat reluctantly, switched from Spectrum to AT&T. We live in a signal desert. Without Wi-fi calling, calls drop left and right. Spectrum was either blazing fast, or it disappeared altogether. AT&T is slow, but the signal is consistent. Still, calls and Zoom meetings drop far too often.

We live in Arlington, Texas, a couple of miles due north of AT&T stadium. The ubiquity of the AT&T brand in these parts explains our reluctance to sign up. We don’t like monopolies. Why must we choose between two behemoths, neither of which is capable of providing decent service?

But the bigger issue here is the in influence of big business in politics and media. OAN makes money by lying to people. It’s that simple. They know it. I know it. You know it. White America has a voracious appetite for lies, fake news and fact-starved mythology. OAN viewers are being victimized by power-people who know better.

Deprived of networks like FOX and OAN, Trumps Big Lie would die a quick and merciful death.

Do conservative views deserve a place in media world? Sure. I am always interested in hearing from people living to my ideological right and left. So long as they bargain in good faith. So long as they marshal facts in support of their opinions. So long as they are sincere. So long as they aren’t controlled by craven corporate puppet-masters.

If AT&T did bankroll OAN, we must ask why. Were they eager to endorse a pro-corporate worldview? Were they merely trying to cash in on hate and ignorance? What’s the motive?

And what would happen if, embarrassed by the current round of negative media coverage, AT&T (and DirecTV) decided to drop OAN?

FOX would receive an immediate bump in viewership. But would anything change?

There is a difference between FOX and OAN. The evening programing on FOX is a mindless disgrace, but the network is capable of dispensing objective news. They did, after all, call the election for Biden.

But OAN is FOX taken to its logical conclusion. The operation is utterly cynical from top-to-bottom. And anyone who funds the operation, or even profits from it, is complicit in evil.

I have no problem with a conservative take on the news; I have a problem with corporations in thrall to the Prince of Darkness.