OAN host pleads with viewers to find ‘dirt’ on AT&T chair after DirecTV drops network

After America’s largest satellite television provider announced it would not renew its contract with far-right media network One America News Network, anchor Dan Ball urged viewers to find hypothetical “dirt” on the chairman of the provider’s parent company.

Last week, DirecTV – majority-owned by US telecoms giant AT&T – said it would not renew its contract with the network when the current one expires, following a “routine internal review.”

In a segment capture by Media Matters that aired on 17 January, Mr Ball said the network is “at war” with AT&T, sharing a graphic with the company’s customer service phone number and a photograph of the company’s chair William Kennard.

“If you’ve got any dirt … I’d love to see it and put it on this program,” Mr Ball said. “You bring me concrete evidence of whatever it may be – cheating on his taxes, cheating on his wife, saying racial slurs towards white people, folks do that – whatever it may be, find it for me, bring it, and we’ll air it.”

He also shared the clip on his Facebook page, telling followers to “tell the chairman of the board at AT&T that he can go to hell for trying for [sic] cancel” the network.

“Don’t let them censor conservative voices,” he said. “We didn’t start this war with the woke mob and radical liberals, but by the grace of god we will finish it and win!”

On another segment on Monday, Donald Trump’s spokesperson Liz Harrington framed DirecTV’s decision to drop the network as part of a communist plot to steal the 2020 presidential election, according to Media Matters.

During his rally in Arizona on Saturday, the former president blamed “woke executives” and suggested his followers boycott AT&T.

AT&T has faced a recent wave of demands to drop the network, which has been a hotbed of right-wing conspiracy theories and explicitly pro-Trump messaging.

A recent Reuters investigation found that not only did AT&T legitimise the network across its platform but that 90 per cent of the network’s revenue came from a contract with AT&T-owned television platforms, according to court documents obtained by the news agency.

One lawyer for OANN said in 2020 that Herring Networks “would go out of business tomorrow” if dropped by the provider, according to documents.

The company also is the subject of a $1.6bn defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems after publishing “false and manufactured stories about election fraud” during and after 2020 elections, according to court filings.

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