One America News, the conspiratorial TV network for conservatives, filed a lawsuit last week against DirecTV and AT&T over the companies’ decision this year to drop the network from their cable packages.
Let me rephrase that: One America News, the conspiratorial, right-wing TV network known in part for fear-mongering about “socialism,” is asking the government to punish a private company for refusing to carry a TV channel it no longer wishes to carry.
This affirms my belief that “capitalism” is simply socialism for the wealthy, but that’s a post for a different day.
The lawsuit seeks $1 billion in damages from DirecTV and its majority owner, AT&T. Lawyers for OAN said the two media companies used “unchecked influence and power” 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.”
DirecTV said in January it will drop OAN from its service once the contract expires in April. That decision followed a Reuters report in October on AT&T's role in providing funds to the right-wing outlet, the preferred Fox News alternative for former President Donald Trump. (AT&T has denied having a financial interest in OAN's success.)
In announcing its plans to drop OAN, "AT&T and DirecTV signaled to the public that something was wrong, hurting OAN’s business and standing in the news media business," according to OAN's lawsuit. That’s a particularly rich claim coming from an outlet well known for spreading misinformation, including Covid conspiracy theories and baseless allegations of fraud in the 2020 election.
A previous advertising agreement between OAN and DirecTV will continue until at least 2024, a source familiar with the contract told Reuters in a report published Monday.
So OAN will still be able to use DirecTV’s reach to its benefit in some capacity for the foreseeable future. But that doesn't mean DirecTV's plan to ditch the channel isn't going to hurt. In fact, OAN's desperate lawsuit is a sign it knows just how painful that will be.