Conspiracy Channel OAN Pouts More, Sues DirecTV For Kicking It To The Curb
from the good-luck-with-that dept
Back in January DirecTV finally decided to axe OAN, the conspiracy and fantasy channel, from its cable lineup. The decision came just three months or so after a blockbuster report showed that AT&T not only helped fund and set up the “news” outlet, but it came up with the idea. OAN has been notorious for spreading false claims ranging from non-existent election fraud to the false claim that COVID was developed in a North Carolina lab as part of a government plot.
OAN didn’t respond well. It first freaked out and had its “reporters” attack a minority AT&T board member in a bid to try and make it seem like the decision was both racial and political. Now OAN has filed a lawsuit against DirecTV, in which it (of course) plays the victim:
“This is an action to redress the unchecked influence and power that Defendants have wielded in an attempt to unlawfully destroy an independent, family-run business and impede the right of American television viewers to watch the news media channels and programs of their choice,”
Accusing DirecTV, the fading satellite TV remnants of AT&T’s bungled media and video ad strategy, as having “unchecked influence and power” is pretty funny just as a baseline. AT&T’s been losing subscribers to streaming hand over fist, and is likely facing a short remaining life span. AT&T/DirecTV didn’t violate its carriage contract with OAN, it simply chose not to renew it, which is its right.
While Dallas-based AT&T executives did originally fund and come up with the idea for OAN, things have shifted dramatically for AT&T and DirecTV since OAN’s creation several years ago. The company’s $200 billion acquisitions of DirecTV and Time Warner flamed out spectacularly, forcing it to sell much of the assets to recoup its massive debt load as it backed away from its TV and video advertising ambitions and refocused on telecom.
That included selling off DirecTV into a new joint venture with private equity firm TPG Capital, which now has a 30 percent stake. With TPG Capital in the mix the company was simply less tolerant of the propaganda patty cake OAN is playing in ratio with the money they made off the extremely limited number of people that actually watched channel.
In the suit, OAN tries to claim that because OAN and the Herring family of channels still have an ad contract with AT&T’s former ad-arm Xandr (recently sold to Microsoft after AT&T bungled that at as well), it believed its carriage contract would be renewed. But again, there’s nothing illegal here.
As countless other U.S. cable programming makes clear, most cable and broadcast companies couldn’t care less about ethics, and would air pretty much anything they could get away with if it made them money, so the idea that DirecTV was somehow being vindictive or political doesn’t make sense, and OAN’s case doesn’t seem likely to gain much traction.