OAN, a trusted Trump promoter, suffers a ‘death blow’

The future of One America News, which has established itself as a powerful voice in the conservative media by promoting some of the most outlandish lies about the 2020 election, is in serious doubt as major carriers has removed him from its ranks and is at risk of financial loss from defamation lawsuits. .

By the end of this week, the cable network will have lost its presence in nearly 20 million homes this year. The latest blow came from Verizon, which will stop carrying OAN on its Fios television service starting Saturday. That would starve the network of a major revenue stream: the fees it collects from Verizon, which counts about 3.5 million cable subscribers. In April, OAN was dropped by AT&T’s DirecTV, which has about 15 million subscribers.

OAN’s remaining audience will be small. Scott Robson, a senior research analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said the network will soon be available to only a few hundred thousand people who subscribe to smaller cable providers, such as Frontier and GCI Liberty. OAN sells its programming directly to consumers through its OAN Live and KlowdTV streaming platforms, but those products provide a fraction of the revenue generated by most traditional TV providers.

“I think it’s a death blow for the network,” Mr Robson said.

In its statement announcing the termination of its OAN contract, Verizon said only that it had been “unable to reach an agreement to continue One America News,” and that it had reached out to activist groups such as Media Matters. No mention was made of public pressure campaigns. which was demanding cable providers drop the network. A company spokesman declined to comment further on Tuesday.

DirecTV also did not explain its reasons for dropping OAN, saying in January that the move was part of a “routine internal review.” On Tuesday, the company cited the January statement.

Although OAN doesn’t have the influence of the much larger Fox News, the top-rated cable news network, fees from its deals with Verizon and AT&T have provided substantial revenue, some estimates say about $36 million a year. There is a dollar. And once it loses millions of television sets, OAN will be in a weaker bargaining position with advertisers—fewer potential viewers mean fewer companies to advertise their products on the network. Willing to pay.

All of this comes at a particularly bad time for OAN, which is based in San Diego. The company supporting it and the Herring family are facing defamation lawsuits over the network’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald J. Trump.

The coverage included wild stories about Mr. Trump’s alleged plots to steal votes. Voting technology companies Smartmatic and Dominion are suing OAN over false claims that their machines enabled Mr. Trump’s enemies to change votes cast for President Biden. A Dominion employee, Eric Comer, He is also suing Network. Mr Comer received death threats after OAN named him in a report as an alleged associate of the far-left movement Antifa.

Two election workers from Georgia sued OAN for reporting that they were part of an illegal conspiracy to add fraudulent votes to President Biden’s vote total in the state, which he won handily. OAN disposed of the case in April.

The lawsuits are among defamation lawsuits pending before judges across the country against conservative media outlets and Trump allies. Dominion and Smartmatic are also suing Newsmax, one of OAN’s competitors, and Fox News.

For OAN, the litigation has not gone well so far, as judges have rejected its attempts to have the cases dismissed. In an order, A judge concluded that the OAN had acted “maliciously and knowingly” in perpetuating lies about Dominion, and that its chief White House correspondent, Chanel Raven, had failed to conduct even the most minimal journalistic checks.

In her report, Ms. Raven quoted a conservative podcaster and activist, Joe Altman, who claimed to have eavesdropped on an Antifa conference call before the election, reporting that “antifa-soaked engineers are half of America. are bent on deleting the voice” and referred to Mr. Comer.

Last year, Charles Herring, president of Herring Networks, owner of OAN, defended the coverage in remarks to OlxPraca, saying the network had a review process with multiple checks to ensure Ensure that news coverage is in line with company standards.

“Based on our investigation, voter irregularities clearly occurred in the November 2020 elections,” he said. “The real question is to what extent?”

Launched in 2013 by Mr. Herring’s father, Robert Herring, a tech entrepreneur, OAN was for years a little-seen, right-wing cable network that covered Republican efforts to impeach President Barack Obama and the Islamic movement of American Muslims. The estate was running stories about joining.

The conservative takeover of Washington in 2017 gave it new life. That year, DirecTV struck a deal to carry the channel and greatly expanded its potential viewership. Mr. Trump spoke of its flattering coverage of him, heaping praise on it in a way he usually reserves for Fox News, calling OAN “a great network.”

OAN has become not only a reliable purveyor of fraudulent coverage of Mr. Trump, but also a fierce pursuer of his political opponents. His willingness to bend the truth and voice conspiracy theories on a variety of topics — vaccines, Covid-19, the identity of the rioters at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 — surpassed any of his rivals in the pro. Trump Media Circle.

Mr. Trump rewarded the network’s loyalty. In the summer of 2020, unsatisfied with what he considered insufficiently positive coverage from Fox News, he urged his followers to watch OAN and Newsmax instead of watching them “much better!” Look to understand. He did so again after the election, when OAN reporters were more willing than many Fox journalists to continue to lend credit to allegations of voter fraud.

Unlike some of its rivals, the OAN clung to the idea for months that the election was inconclusive. At times, the network acted as if Mr. Biden were not president. The channel did not broadcast live coverage of his inauguration. In a ___ Reports In late March 2021, one of his correspondents claimed, “There are still serious doubts about who the president really is.”

Now OAN is trying to increase its viewership. In recent days, an ad on its website offered new subscribers free access to its OAN Live service until October 31.

Its anchors have portrayed its network’s dispute with Verizon as another attempt by the corporate media establishment to silence conservative voices.

One anchor, Dan Ball, recently asked viewers to call Verizon and demand that it continue OAN’s service. “Call that number. You want to tell them, ‘Keep the OAN. Keep the OAN,'” he said. “Verizon is next to try to censor One America News.”