A REUTERS SPECIAL REPORT
As it lauded former President Donald Trump and spread his unfounded claims of election fraud, One America News Network saw its viewership jump. Reuters has uncovered how America’s telecom giant nurtured the news channel now at the center of a bitter national divide over politics and truth.
By JOHN SHIFFMAN in San Diego
Filed Oct. 6, 2021, 11 a.m. GMT
First of two stories
One America News, the far-right network whose fortunes and viewership rose amid the triumph and tumult of the Trump administration, has flourished with support from a surprising source: AT&T Inc, the world’s largest communications company.
A Reuters review of court records shows the role AT&T played in creating and funding OAN, a network that continues to spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic.
OAN founder and chief executive Robert Herring Sr has testified that the inspiration to launch OAN in 2013 came from AT&T executives.
“They told us they wanted a conservative network,” Herring said during a 2019 deposition seen by Reuters. “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.”
Since then, AT&T has been a crucial source of funds flowing into OAN, providing tens of millions of dollars in revenue, court records show. 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.
Herring has testified he was offered $250 million for OAN in 2019. …
Next: How Robert Herring Sr rose from high school dropout to rightwing broadcasting boss
Hey but who cares?