Washington D.C. – Telecommunications giant AT&T’s failing track record on democracy issues took another turn for the worse today with reports its subsidiary company DirecTV has cut a deal with far-right-wing Newsmax Media to once again make the network available on its satellite-TV and streaming packages. It is well-documented that Newsmax is one of the most prolific spreaders of unhinged election conspiracies and likely libelous disinformation, which has helped keep the Big Lie alive and well among MAGA extremists in Congress. Accountable.US, the government watchdog group behind the ‘American Democracy Scorecard’, called AT&T’s decision alarming yet predictable after the company donated over $600,000 to those in Congress that voted to throw out the 2020 election results even after the violent insurrection on January 6th, 2021. In 2021, Accountable.US found AT&T also funneled $100,000 to Texas Governor Greg Abbott on the same day Abbott called for a special legislative session to pass a voter suppression bill among other controversial right-wing priorities.
AT&T tells their consumers and shareholders they’re an ally for democracy, yet few corporations have done more to encourage and platform extremists that push voter suppression and election denialism. AT&T wired hundreds of thousands of dollars to lawmakers behind one of the worst rollbacks of voting rights in Texas history and those in Congress that tried to finish what the insurrectionists started on January 6th. Again platforming a network like Newsmax, notorious for election conspiracy mongering, shows AT&T is not even pretending to care about a healthy democracy anymore.”
Jeremy Funk, spokesperson for Accountable.US.
In 2021, AT&T was also revealed to be one of the architects and major funders behind One America News Network (OAN), the far-right media network that has been a major platform for perpetuating Trump’s Big Lie. According to Reuters, “ninety percent of OAN’s revenue came from a contract with AT&T-owned television platforms” and major AT&T executives were “the inspiration to launch OAN.”