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John Oliver Offers ‘Constructive Feedback’ To HBO’s Corporate Parent AT&T: ‘You’re A Terrible Company’

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at October 11, 2021

On HBO’s Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver reacted to a Reuters investigation revealing AT&T—still the parent company to HBO and CNN pending regulatory approval of WarnerMedia’s spinoff with Discovery

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—played an instrumental role in the creation of the One America News Network, which Reuters described as “the far-right network whose fortunes and viewership rose amid the triumph and tumult of the Trump administration” and which Oliver summed up as “a far right channel that peddles Covid misinformation and conspiracy theories.”

According to the Reuters report, which was based on a review of court records, OAN founder and chief executive Robert Herring Sr. said the idea to launch the network came in a 2013 meeting with AT&T executives. “They told us they wanted a conservative network…when they said that, I jumped to it and built one.” Reuters reported that “AT&T has been a crucial source of funds flowing into OAN, providing tens of millions of dollars in revenue…ninety percent of OAN’s revenue came from a contract with AT&T-owned television platforms, including satellite broadcaster DirecTV.”

“And with that help, OAN has grown into the toxic network that it is today,” Oliver said, highlighting a recent story carried on the network featuring a host concluding that the 2020 election may have been “overthrown” and that elections officials who certified the results could be guilty of “treason” carrying “the penalty of death.”

AT&T, in a statement to Last Week Tonight, said “no AT&T senior executive suggested to Herring that they create another conservative news network.” The company also says “AT&T has never had a financial interest in OAN’s success and does not ‘fund’ OAN.”

The Reuters report has sparked campaigns aimed at getting DirecTV to drop OAN:

AT&T has also said that the only reason OAN was carried by DirecTV was that OAN had sued the company. “Okay,” Oliver said. “I guess the largest telecom company in the world got rolled in a lawsuit by a ragtag band of fascists.”

In another statement to the HBO show, AT&T said it “is committed to providing editorial independence for every WarnerMedia show, including this one,” leading Oliver to say “I’d like to use that generous editorial independence to offer some constructive feedback to AT&T.”

“You’re a terrible company,” Oliver said. “You do bad things and you make the world worse.”

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