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- President Joe Biden urged social media companies and news outlets to “deal with misinformation and disinformation” on their platforms, but he didn’t order DirecTV to drop One America News Network, as this post suggests.
DirecTV plans to drop One America News Network when its parent company’s contract with the satellite-TV provider expires in April, Bloomberg reported Jan. 14.
The conservative channel was a favorite of Donald Trump’s when he was president, and it has drawn the ire of critics who say that OAN spreads misinformation. (PolitiFact has fact-checked two claims made by the network and found them false.)
But a recent claim spreading on social media that DirecTV canceled OAN after President Joe Biden "orders media outlets and tech giants to banish voices that deviate from the regime’s official narrative" is wrong.
Posts sharing the claim were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Toward the end of his remarks, Biden said: "I make a special appeal to social media companies and media outlets. Please deal with the misinformation and disinformation that’s on your shows. It has to stop. COVID-19 is one of the most formidable enemies America has ever faced. We’ve got to work together, not against each other."
This isn’t an order, and a spokesperson for DirecTV told NPR that calls from outside groups to drop OAN didn’t drive the company’s decision to do so.
AT&T, majority owner of DirecTV, once helped OAN thrive, according to the findings of a Reuters investigation.
But the company and Herring Networks Inc., which owns OAN, had a contentious relationship long before Biden’s remarks. After AT&T bought DirecTV in 2015, it stopped airing OAN. Then Herring sued AT&T, which agreed to carry the channel as part of a settlement.
The DirecTV spokesperson told NPR that the company considers several factors when deciding whether to renew a contract, including in this case whether OAN appealed to a broad enough base of customers.
The Facebook post suggests that DirecTV dropped OAN on Biden’s orders but there’s no evidence to support such claims. Biden urged media companies to stop spreading misinformation about COVID-19, but he didn’t direct them to make specific business decisions.
We rate this post False.
Facebook post, Jan. 17, 2022
NPR, DirecTV to drop One America News Network, Jan. 15, 2022
Bloomberg, DirecTV to Drop One America News in Blow to Conservative Channel, Jan. 14, 2022
The White House, Remarks by President Biden at Virtual Meeting on Military Deployments Supporting Hospitals for the COVID-19 Response, Jan. 13, 2022
C-SPAN tweet, Jan. 13, 2022
Reuters, How AT&T helped build far-right One America News, Oct. 6, 2021
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