‘I take Stephenson at his word when he said he was unaware that AT&T was continuing to ban conservative content…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) A corporate watchdog informed AT&T’s top executive, Randall Stephenson, that the company’s employees are banning conservatives from advertising with them.
Justin Danhof, director of the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research, said the telecommunications CEO was upset to learn about his company’s participation in blacklisting conservative advertisers.
Danhof spoke privately with Stephenson at AT&T’s annual shareholder meeting in Dallas, Texas, FEP reported in a press release.
The conversation focused on the effects of AT&T buying AppNexus, an online advertising giant, in 2018.
“I noted that under its old CEO Brian O’Kelley, AppNexus had a practice of banning certain websites from its platform for political reasons,” Danhof said.
“Stephenson indicated that AT&T had stopped this practice when it took over the platform,” Danhof continued. “When I informed him that AT&T was, in fact, continuing O’Kelley’s practice of censoring certain websites from its ad platforms, he expressed dismay.”
Danhof said AppNexus began to censor conservative content after the election of President Donald Trump.
Before AT&T acquired AppNexus, the company said it banned conservative voices because they were engaged in “hate speech.”
“Stephenson told me that the practice needs to stop and I agree,” Danhof said. “Now we are calling on the employees in AT&T’s digital advertising department to follow through on their boss’s calls to end this politically-motivated censorship.”
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AT&T owns CNN, which has raised suspicions about a conflict of interest.
When AppNexus employees ban conservative content, they interfere with CNN’s biggest competitors and critics.
“I take Stephenson at his word when he said he was unaware that AT&T was continuing to ban conservative content,” Danhof said. “However, now that he is aware, and has expressed his displeasure with this practice, I expect him to move decisively to put an end to AT&T’s role as the speech police.”