After DirecTV dropped far-right channel One America News, one of the fact-free network’s hosts urged his viewers to dig up “dirt” on the chairman of AT&T, the parent company of the satellite TV provider.
“Whatever it is,” OAN host Dan Ball pleaded on Monday evening, listing hypothetical scandals like extramarital affairs or anti-white racism.
DirecTV announced on Sunday that following a “routine internal review” it had decided not to renew its contract with Herring Networks, the owner of One America News. Aside from OAN, DirecTV also plans to drop the conservative channel’s sister network, a luxury-focused lifestyle channel titled A Wealth of Entertainment.
As the majority owner of DirecTV, AT&T faced increased calls to drop OAN as the little-watched channel actively courted controversy and pushed unhinged right-wing conspiracies. In fact, OAN is currently fighting billion-dollar defamation lawsuits from voting software firms Dominion and Smartmatic for peddling false claims about widespread voter fraud.
The telecommunications giant has also come under intense criticism in recent months after Reuters reported that AT&T not only played an integral role in launching OAN in 2013 but had essentially kept the channel afloat via its contract with DirecTV. “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,” Reuters noted in its story.
Though the network also runs on smaller providers like Verizon’s FiOS and KlowdTV, DirecTV is by far the biggest source of OAN’s viewership.
At the end of Monday night’s broadcast of his show Real America, and after saying earlier in the show that OAN “is now at war with AT&T,” Ball told viewers that he was going to “remind them every single day” until DirecTV pulls the plug in April that “we need your help.”
Airing a graphic that featured AT&T’s customer support number and a picture of AT&T chairman William Kennard, Ball noted that Kennard had “connections to the Obamas and Clintons for decades.” (Kennard, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman in the George W. Bush administration, served as U.S. ambassador to the European Union under former President Barack Obama.)
Urging his audience to “raise hell” by calling the AT&T support line “every hour” to demand they keep OAN, the conservative host then accused Kennard of “doing nothing but a political maneuver by pressuring DirecTV” to boot the network from its service.
Besides begging OAN viewers to “blow up” AT&T’s phone lines with demands that they keep his channel, Ball also called on them to send them any salacious information about the conglomerate’s chairman.
“If you have any dirt on Mr. Kennard, I’d love to see it and put it on this program,” the Real America host exclaimed.
“You bring me concrete evidence of whatever it may be: cheating on his taxes, cheating on his wife, saying racial slurs against white people,” Ball added, unsubtly referencing the fact that Kennard is Black. “Whatever it may be. Find it for me. Bring it, and we will air it.”
He wrapped his plea by saying “everybody’s got dirty little sins and secrets they're hiding” and that Kennard “deserves to have his exposed” over DirecTV deciding to cut ties with One America News.
“Don’t let them do this to you, folks, by taking OAN off the air. We need your help,” Ball concluded.
The OAN host also shared a clip of his monologue on his Facebook account, along with the following caption: “Tell the chairman of the board at AT&T that he go to hell for trying for cancel #oann We must #boycott everything #att. Don’t let them censor conservative voices. 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!”
Some prominent conservatives, meanwhile, have rallied around OAN in the aftermath of DirecTV’s decision. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), for instance, claimed on Twitter this week that he plans to cancel his subscription to the satellite service because they dropped the cartoonishly pro-Trump channel.