THE LATEST: At the end of March, Democracy Forward sought records from each of those who signed the March 10, 2022 letter to DirectTV CEO Bill Morrow. In addition, the investigation is seeking all records from these offices containing or documenting communications with the following media outlets: OAN, Fox News, Breitbart News Network, Blaze Media, CRTV, The Blaze, Newsmax, Daily Caller, Daily Wire, and Sinclair Broadcast Group. The public deserves to know the full extent of communication between the State government and conservative media outlets like OAN and others in order to assess whether the State’s conduct is appropriate.
On March 10, 2022, Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, led a letter to Bill Morrow, CEO of DirecTV, LLC, recommending that the private company reconsider its decision to sever ties with One America News (OAN) upon completion of its current agreement and instead renew its contract with OAN. Attorney General Paxton was joined on this letter by the Attorneys General of Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, and South Carolina.
Taxpayer funds were used to produce and garner support for this letter for the purpose of engaging in and influencing the business decisions of a private corporation. The letter sought to assert “viewpoint discrimination” as grounds for the States’ involvement in the private business matters of DirecTV. At the same time, OAN prominently features its lawsuit against DirectTV and its parent company on its website.
This letter calls into question whether the States’ conduct, as it relates to its relationship with media outlets, has been appropriate and whether the letter sent to DirecTV in support of OAN constitutes a suitable use of taxpayer funds.