One America News host Dan Ball lashed out at AT&T and the chairman of its board after news broke that DirecTV, in which the telecom giant has a 70% stake, would cease carrying the right-wing network in April following calls from Media Matters and other activist groups.
At the end of his prime-time show on January 17, Ball displayed a photo of the chairman of AT&T’s board on the screen and told viewers to call the customer support line to “complain” and “raise hell,” and that they should do so “daily, every hour” to “demand they keep OAN.”
“If you’ve got any dirt” on AT&T’s board chairman, Ball added, “I’d love to see it and put it on this program. 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.”
At another point, Ball said, “One America News Network is now at war with AT&T, and it is time that we all fight and fight like hell with our words and our pocketbooks.” Ball also praised Donald Trump for mentioning the network’s woes at his Saturday rally.
Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe appeared on the same episode of Ball’s show and said, “I encourage you guys not to back down and to continue doing what you do.”
On another OAN show on Monday, Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington framed DirecTV’s decision to drop OAN as an extension of a purported communist plot to steal the 2020 presidential election.
In October, Reuters published a two-part in-depth investigation into how AT&T executives worked hand in glove with OAN founder Robert Herring to establish and grow the far-right conspiracy theory outlet. At the time, AT&T dubiously tried to downplay the PR crisis and distance itself from the Reuters reporting, which had noted, “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.”
While DirecTV’s decision to drop One America News has the potential to collapse the network’s entire business model, it still has national distribution on two carriers and is available through Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and other platforms. As OAN pursues deals with Comcast and Charter Spectrum, Ball’s meltdown should serve as a warning to distributors to stay away or risk associating their brand with a total loose cannon.