New reporting has revealed how deals have facilitated massive funding boosts from the telecommunications giant AT&T for One America News Network, a far-right outlet that promotes conspiracy theories which often seem to get only more utterly bonkers. The network is also a prominent supporter of former President Trump and continues to provide a particularly prominent platform for outright lies about the integrity and overall handling of last year’s presidential election. In a new video, the anti-Trump conservative group known as The Lincoln Project went directly after AT&T for their financial support of far-right extremism. This has included donations from AT&T in support of lawmakers who helped foster the Capitol riot with their election lies.
In the video, a narrator says as follows:
‘Friends, family, the people who make our lives complete. With AT&T, you can reach out to those people to feel the connection too many Americans are missing today. In addition to reliable connections and crystal clear sound quality, your AT&T plan helps fund One America News Network. OANN is a streaming channel that hires radical, alt-right white nationalists as hosts, cheers the Capitol attacks, and promotes COVID-19 conspiracy theories… By keeping your cell service with AT&T, you can help pay OANN show host Pearson Sharp to call for mass executions. And with AT&T, you’ll be able to keep funding politicians, like Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who pushes radical new laws against voting rights and women’s rights. AT&T: funding sedition, oppression, and of course, One America News Network.’
Watch it below:
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) October 11, 2021
Reuters explains that “[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.” Further, OANN founder Robert Herring Sr. has said that he created OANN essentially at the urging of executives from AT&T. As he put it, executives “told us they wanted a conservative network,” considering how they “only had one, which was Fox News, and they had seven others on the other [liberal] side.” Herring added that “when they said that, I jumped to it and built” a conservative television network. At least in terms of the network’s standing within far-right circles, it’s paid off — Trump has publicly promoted the network dozens upon dozens and dozens of times, including in one prominent instance when he cited the channel in a tweet claiming that millions of his votes had been “deleted,” which of course did not actually happen.