Five Republican state treasurers have pressed AT&T in a letter over its removal of the One America News Network (OANN), calling it “apparent censorship of political discourse” driven by partisanship.
AT&T, the majority owner of satellite television provider DirecTV, terminated its contract with OANN and dropped its channels from its lineup earlier this year.
In an early October letter recently obtained by Breitbart, the treasurers from states including Nebraska, Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming argued that DirecTV’s move to blacklist OANN was driven by political bias and pressure from left-wing organizations and politicians.
“Based on the timing of DirecTV’s decision to coincide with politically-motivated pressure campaigns, the lack of a plausible business rationale, and DirecTV’s general decline in subscribers, it appears DirecTV acted based on political or personal motives, rather than out of financial concern for AT&T’s shareholders and other beneficiaries,” wrote the treasurers.
“More than a breach of fiduciary duty, AT&T’s decision brands the company as a partisan operative, damaging its reputation with consumers, other cable channels, and the public writ large.”
Several groups, including Media Matters for America, GLAAD (formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), and Greenpeace USA, sent a letter last November (pdf) to the CEOs of AT&T and DirecTV urging them to cut ties with OANN, alleging the news network promoted misinformation on election integrity and COVID-19.
“We call on you to do the right thing and demand that DIRECTV take all available means to end its relationship with OANN, so that its customers are no longer forced to subsidize hate and disinformation,” the letter reads.
In March last year, OANN attorney Eric Early wrote to Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), and demanded they publicly retract their letters after the lawmakers pressed 12 cable, satellite, and streaming companies to explain why they continue to offer their services to not only OANN, but also Fox News and Newsmax.
“To the extent the termination of OAN was undertaken for the personal or financial gain of entities other than AT&T, the decision raises concerns about possible ethical and legal conflicts of interest of AT&T’s Directors,” treasurers of the five states said in the letter.
The Epoch Times has reached out to AT&T for comment.
It comes as another two Republican-led states, Missouri and Louisiana, announced this month to remove their billion-dollar investment from BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, in response to the company’s overt far-left turn that allegedly breached its fiduciary duty.
“We should not allow asset managers such as BlackRock, who have demonstrated that they will prioritize advancing a woke political agenda above the financial interests of their customers, to continue speaking on behalf of the state of Missouri,” State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick told Fox Business, upon announcing the plans on Oct. 18.
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.