The future of One America News, which established itself as a powerful voice in conservative media by promoting some of the most outlandish falsehoods about the 2020 election, is in serious doubt as major airlines scrap it from their lineups and libel lawsuits its finances. threaten to demolish.
By the end of this week, the cable network will have lost its presence in some 20 million homes this year. The most recent blow came from Verizon, which will stop carrying OAN on its Fios television service starting Saturday. That will starve the network of a major revenue stream: the fees it collects from Verizon, which has about 3.5 million cable subscribers. In April, OAN was dropped by AT&T’s DirecTV, which has approximately 15 million subscribers.
OAN’s remaining audience will be small. The network will soon be available only to a few hundred thousand subscribers to smaller cable providers, such as Frontier and GCI Liberty, said Scott Robson, senior research analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence. OAN also sells its programming directly to users through its OAN Live and KlowdTV streaming platforms, but those products are most likely to bring in a fraction of the revenue generated by traditional TV providers.
“I really think this is the death knell for the network,” Robson said.
In its statement announcing the termination of its OAN deal, Verizon only said it “was unable to reach an agreement to continue bringing One America News,” and made no mention of the public pressure campaigns it launched. was confronted by activist groups such as Media Matters, who had called on cable providers to drop the network. A company spokeswoman declined to comment on Tuesday.
DirecTV also did not elaborate on the reasons for dropping OAN, saying in January that the move was part of a “routine internal review.” On Tuesday, the company referred to the January statement.
While OAN doesn’t have the clout of the much larger Fox News, the top-rated cable news network, the fees for its deals with Verizon and AT&T provided a significant revenue stream, about $36 million a year by some estimates. And once it’s gone from millions of television sets, OAN will be in a weaker bargaining position with advertisers — fewer potential viewers most likely means fewer companies willing to pay the same amount to promote their products on the network.
All of this comes at a particularly bad time for OAN, which is based in San Diego. The company and the Herring family it backs are facing defamation lawsuits over the network’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald J. Trump.
That coverage featured wild stories of alleged plots to steal Mr Trump’s votes. The voting technology companies Smartmatic and Dominion are suing OAN over false claims that their machines allowed Mr Trump’s enemies to transfer the votes cast for him to President Biden. An employee of Dominion, Eric Coomer, is also suing the network. Coomer received death threats after OAN named him in a report as an alleged associate of antifa, the far-left movement.
Two Georgia election workers have sued OAN for reporting that they were part of an illegal plot to add fraudulent votes to President Biden’s totals in the state, which he narrowly won. OAN settled that case in April.
The cases are one of a series of libel cases against conservative media and Trump allies pending in judges across the country. Dominion and Smartmatic are also suing Newsmax, one of OAN’s competitors, and Fox News.
For OAN, the process has not gone well so far, as judges have rejected her attempts to have the cases dropped. In one ruling, a judge concluded that OAN had acted “maliciously and knowingly” by perpetuating falsehoods about Dominion, and that the chief White House correspondent, Chanel Rion, had not exercised even the most minimal journalistic scrutiny.
In her report, Ms. Rion quoted conservative podcaster and activist, Joe Oltmann, who claimed to have tapped a pre-election antifa conference call, reporting that “antifa-infused engineers are determined to remove half of America’s vote” and referred to Mr. Coomer.
Last year, Charles Herring, the president of OAN’s owner, Herring Networks, defended the coverage in comments to The New York Times, saying the network has a review process that includes multiple checks to ensure its coverage meets corporate standards.
“Based on our investigation, there were clear voter irregularities in the November 2020 elections,” he said. “The real question is to what extent.”
Started in 2013 by Mr. Herring’s father, Robert Herring, a tech entrepreneur, OAN was for many years a little-watched, right-wing cable network with stories of a Republican attempt to impeach President Barack Obama and of American Muslims joining the Islamic State. State.
The conservative takeover of Washington in 2017 gave it a new lease of life. That year, DirecTV struck a deal to carry the channel and significantly expanded its potential viewership. Mr. Trump gushed about his flattering coverage of him, pouring out the kind of praise he typically reserved for Fox News, calling OAN “a great network.”
Not only did OAN become a reliable provider of obsequious coverage of Mr. Trump, but also a persistent pursuer of his political opponents. His willingness to bend the truth and give voice to conspiracy theories on various topics — vaccines, Covid-19, the identity of the rioters in the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 — went further than any of his competitors in the pro-Trump media sphere. .
Mr Trump rewarded the network’s loyalty. In the summer of 2020, dissatisfied with what he deemed to be insufficiently positive coverage from Fox News, he urged his followers to watch OAN and Newsmax instead, as he found them “much better”! He did so again after the election, when OAN correspondents were more willing than many Fox journalists to continue to lend credibility to allegations of voter fraud.
More than some of its competitors, OAN clung for months to the idea that the elections remained unresolved. At times, the network pretended that Mr. Biden was not the president. The station did not broadcast a live report of his inauguration. In a report dated late March 2021, one of his correspondents claimed, “There are still serious doubts about who the actual president is.”
Now OAN is trying to bolster its viewership. In recent days, an ad on its website offered new subscribers free access to the OAN Live service until October 31.
The anchors have seen their network’s dispute with Verizon as another attempt by a corporate media company to silence conservative voices.
An anchor, Dan Ball, recently pleaded with viewers to call Verizon and demand that it continue to operate OAN. ‘Call that number. You want to tell them, ‘Stay OAN. Keep OAN,’” he said. “Verizon is next to try to censor One America News.”