DirecTV customers cry foul after Fox News, CNN outage

Some DirecTV customers are crying foul after Fox News and CNN were blacked out because of "technical difficulties" with the satellite service in the final days of the presidential campaign.

DirecTV said Friday that eight high-definition channels, including both Fox News and CNN, were impacted by the outage, adding that customers could still watch the two news outlets in standard definition.

The blackout spurred censorship allegations from angry DirecTV customers, particularly those who watch Fox News. Some took to social media to sound off about the outage.

The outage, which also affected NBC Sports, Golf, Fusion, BBC World News, Comedy Central and Ovation, occurred just days before the presidential election when campaigning and election news have hit a fevered pitch.

Port St. Lucie resident Christine Fischer, who said she has been a DirecTV customer for about nine years, said she first noticed problems with the Fox News station about a week ago, where the outages were limited to the morning hours.

But on Friday, the HD channel was blacked out well into the afternoon, she added.

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Fischer said an initial error message said the satellite provider was having technical problems. By the afternoon, the message had been updated and urged customers not to call to report the problem, she said.

“I am going to cancel my DirecTV,” Fischer said. “They shouldn’t be able to do this to us.”

In a statement Friday, AT&T apologized for the outage and said it was working to resolve the problem.

"We're experiencing technical difficulties impacting 8 HD channels, including CNN HD and FOX News HD, for our satellite customers," Kelly Starling, senior public relations manager for AT&T in South Florida and the Virgin Islands, said in an emailed statement. "These and most of the other channels are available in SD and via our streaming apps. Customers can learn how to unhide SD channels at http://soc.att.com/2f1HYN5. We apologize for the inconvenience. We're working to address the issues and will update accordingly."

It took Fischer about 20 minutes to change the settings on her satellite equipment in order to get the SD Fox News channel. But she worried many customers wouldn’t be able to navigate the process.

“It is just too much work,” Fischer said.

Fischer is not alone. Customers across the country turned to Twitter on Friday to raise questions about the outage.

“Every morning at 6 a.m. ET Fox News goes off-air on DirecTV,” Robert Garland, of Melbourne, tweeted Friday. “Is it simple coincidence, or opposition to Trump, since FOX is pro-Trump?”

Other twitter users said they were concerned the outage occurred so close to the election.

“DirecTV is blocking Fox News channel past couple mornings stating technical difficulty,” John Merrill tweeted. “Seems odd with election so close.”

In a story posted on its website, Fox News said it had received a "flurry of complaints" about the outage but was unable to resolve a "problem that lies with DirecTV." The website said viewers with questions or complaints should contact the satellite provider.