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OAN, a Dependable Trump Promoter, Faces a ‘Death Blow’

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The longer term of One America News, which established itself as a strong voice in conservative media by promoting a number of the most outlandish falsehoods concerning the 2020 election, is in serious doubt as major carriers drop it from their lineups and defamation lawsuits threaten to empty its funds.

By the top of this week, the cable network may have lost its presence in some 20 million homes this 12 months. Probably the most recent blow got here from Verizon, which is able to stop carrying OAN on its Fios television service starting Saturday. That may starve the network of a significant stream of revenue: the fees it collects from Verizon, which counts roughly 3.5 million cable subscribers. In April, OAN was dropped by AT&T’s DirecTV, which has about 15 million subscribers.

OAN’s remaining audience can be small. The network will soon be available only to a couple of hundred thousand individuals who subscribe to smaller cable providers, reminiscent of Frontier and GCI Liberty, said Scott Robson, a senior research analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence. OAN also sells its programming on to users through its OAN Live and KlowdTV streaming platforms, but those products most probably provide a fraction of the revenue generated by traditional TV providers.

“I actually think that is the death blow for the network,” Mr. Robson said.

In its statement announcing the termination of its OAN deal, Verizon said only that it had been “unable to achieve an agreement to proceed carrying One America News,” and made no mention of the general public pressure campaigns it faced from activist groups like Media Matters, which had been calling on cable providers to drop the network. An organization spokeswoman declined to comment further on Tuesday.

DirecTV also didn’t elaborate on its reasons for dropping OAN, saying in January that the move was a part of a “routine internal review.” On Tuesday, the corporate referred to the January statement.

While OAN doesn’t have the influence wielded by the much larger Fox News, the top-rated cable news network, the fees from its deals with Verizon and AT&T provided a considerable stream of income, about $36 million a 12 months by some estimates. And once it’s gone from thousands and thousands of television sets, OAN can be in a weaker bargaining position with advertisers — fewer potential viewers most probably mean fewer corporations willing to pay as much to advertise their products on the network.

All this comes at a very bad time for OAN, which is predicated in San Diego. The corporate and the Herring family that backs it face defamation lawsuits over the network’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald J. Trump.

That coverage featured wild stories about supposed plots to steal votes from Mr. Trump. The voting technology corporations Smartmatic and Dominion are suing OAN over false claims that their machines enabled Mr. Trump’s enemies to change votes solid for him to President Biden. One worker of Dominion, Eric Coomer, can be suing the network. Mr. Coomer received death threats after OAN named him in a report as an alleged collaborator of antifa, the far-left movement.

Two election employees from Georgia sued OAN for reporting that they were a part of an illegal plot so as to add fraudulent votes to President Biden’s totals within the state, which he narrowly won. OAN settled that case in April.

The cases are amongst a series of defamation suits against conservative media outlets and Trump allies which are pending before judges across the country. Dominion and Smartmatic are also suing Newsmax, certainly one of OAN’s competitors, and Fox News.

Updated 

July 26, 2022, 4:36 p.m. ET

For OAN, the litigation has up to now not gone well, as judges have rejected its attempts to have the cases dismissed. In a single ruling, a judge concluded that OAN had acted “maliciously and consciously” in perpetuating falsehoods about Dominion, and that its chief White House correspondent, Chanel Rion, had did not exercise even probably the most minimal journalistic scrutiny.

In her report, Ms. Rion cited a conservative podcaster and activist, Joe Oltmann, who claimed to have eavesdropped on an antifa conference call before the election, and reported that “antifa drenched engineers are hell bent on deleting half of America’s voice” and referred to Mr. Coomer.

Last 12 months, Charles Herring, the president of OAN’s owner, Herring Networks, defended the coverage in remarks to The Latest York Times, saying that the network has a review process with multiple checks in place to make sure news coverage is as much as company standards.

“Based on our investigations, voter irregularities clearly took place within the November 2020 election,” he said. “The actual query is to what extent.”

Began in 2013 by Mr. Herring’s father, Robert Herring, a tech entrepreneur, OAN was for years a little-watched, right-wing cable network running stories a couple of Republican effort to question President Barack Obama and about American Muslims joining the Islamic State.

The conservative takeover of Washington in 2017 gave it recent life. That 12 months, DirecTV struck a deal to hold the channel and substantially expanded its potential viewership. Mr. Trump gushed about its flattering coverage of him, lavishing on it the sort of praise he typically reserved for Fox News, calling OAN “an excellent network.”

OAN became not only a reliable purveyor of fawning coverage of Mr. Trump but in addition a dogged pursuer of his political opponents. Its willingness to bend the reality and provides voice to conspiracy theories on quite a lot of topics — vaccines, Covid-19, the identities of the rioters on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 — went further than any of its competitors within the pro-Trump media sphere.

Mr. Trump rewarded the network’s loyalty. In the summertime of 2020, dissatisfied with what he considered insufficiently positive coverage from Fox News, he urged his followers to as a substitute watch OAN and Newsmax, deeming them “a lot better!” He did so again after the election, when OAN’s correspondents were more willing than many Fox journalists to proceed lending credibility to allegations of voter fraud.

More so than a few of its competitors, for months OAN clung to the notion that the election remained unresolved. At times, the network acted as if Mr. Biden weren’t the president. The channel didn’t broadcast live coverage of his inauguration. In a report in late March 2021, certainly one of its correspondents claimed, “There’s still serious doubts about who’s actually president.”

Now OAN is attempting to shore up its viewership. In recent days, an commercial on its website offered recent subscribers free access to its OAN Live service through Oct. 31.

Its anchors have solid their network’s dispute with Verizon as one other attempt by a company media establishment to silence conservative voices.

One anchor, Dan Ball, recently implored viewers to call Verizon and demand that it proceed service of OAN. “Call that number. You would like to tell them, ‘Keep OAN. Keep OAN,’” he said. “Verizon is the subsequent one attempting to censor One America News.”

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