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Civil Rights Groups Seek Blacklist of Conservative One America News

November 12, 2021 by Tom Ramstack
A screen grab from a One America News broadcast.

WASHINGTON — Sixteen civil rights groups are asking telecommunications companies AT&T and DirecTV to cut business ties with conservative media outlet One America News Network.

The groups led by media advocacy group Free Press accuse One America of spreading anti-democratic disinformation, promoting COVID-19 conspiracy theories and fueling racism. 

The letter they delivered this week to top AT&T and DirecTV executives says DirecTV’s transmissions of One America’s broadcasts make the companies partners in civil rights violations.

DirecTV is a direct broadcast satellite service provider that transmits digital satellite television and audio to households in the United States and Latin America. AT&T is its biggest investor, providing about 90% of its revenue.

San Diego-based One America’s far-right political agenda often has led to harsh criticism from liberal and moderate groups. 

Its prime time political talk show hosts have described themselves as strong supporters of former President Donald Trump, which included repeating his accusations that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him. The network also has advanced several right wing conspiracy theories.

In November 2020, YouTube suspended One America for one week for advertising a fake cure for COVID-19. This year, One America was sued by voting machine companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic for promoting false claims that the companies had engaged in election fraud during the 2020 presidential election.

The letter from Free Press and its supporters followed a similar line of attack against One America.

“From amplifying conspiracy theories to giving domestic disinformation agents a place where they may promote white supremacist talking points to providing a supportive platform for Donald Trump and his administration, the network is a critical part of a far-right media system that peddles racist conspiracy theories online and off,” the letter says.

Free Press officials said One America’s business partners should not be overlooked in assessing blame.

“One America News would not exist without AT&T’s money and DirecTV’s national platform,” Nora Benavidez, senior counsel for Free Press, said in a statement. “It wouldn’t have been able to mislead millions with dangerous, hateful and dishonest messages that undermine our democracy and threaten our diverse communities.”

Co-signers of the protest letter included Common Cause, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace USA, the National Hispanic Media Coalition and the United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry.

Tom can be reached at [email protected]

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