One America News Network

One America News Network (OANN), also known as One America News (OAN), is a far-right,[11] pro-Donald Trump[16] cable channel founded by Robert Herring Sr. and owned by Herring Networks, Inc., launched on July 4, 2013.[21] The network is headquartered in San Diego, California, and operates news bureaus in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

One America News Network
OANN.jpg
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaUnited States
SloganYour nation, your news
HeadquartersSan Diego, California
Programming
Language(s)English
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downconverted to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
Ownership
OwnerHerring Networks
Sister channelsAWE
LaunchedJuly 4, 2013; 7 years ago (2013-07-04)
Websitewww.oann.com Edit this at Wikidata
Verizon FiOSChannel 116 (SD)
Channel 616 (HD)
DIRECTVChannel 347 (HD)
CenturyLink PrismChannel 208 (SD)
Channel 1208 (HD)
AT&T U-verseChannel 208 (SD)
Channel 1208 (HD)
AT&T TVIPTV

Its prime time political talk shows have a conservative perspective, and the channel has described itself as one of the "greatest supporters" of President Donald Trump.[22] Trump himself has promoted the network.[3][23][24]

The channel is prominent for promoting falsehoods and conspiracy theories.[31]

History

OANN was announced on March 14, 2013, by Herring Networks, Inc., a family-owned national video programming company, which also owns sister channel AWE. The OAN channel originally debuted in partnership with The Washington Times,[32] which had drawn criticism for racist content, including commentary and conspiracy theories about former U.S. President Barack Obama,[39] supporting neo-Confederate historical revisionism,[40] and promoting Islamophobia.[41]

On television, the network predominantly uses the acronym "OAN", whereas on Twitter it is more frequently known as "OANN". The network's web URL domain is at "OANN.com", but the site banner reads "OAN".[42]

OAN President Charles Herring told the Conservative Political Action Conference that "Fox News has done a great job serving the center-right and independent audiences", but that the audience's alternative news sources lacked.[43] Herring also emphasized the network's separation of news from opinion content. He said that straight news would be reported throughout the day, with limited opinion and commentary on evening talk shows,[44] including The Daily Ledger, hosted by Graham Ledger, and The Tipping Point, hosted by Liz Wheeler.[citation needed]

In July 2014, OAN relocated its news and production studios, moving from The Washington Times building to a new location at 101 Constitution Avenue NW, near the United States Capitol. This marked the end of OAN's relationship with The Washington Times, which had provided news and analysis.[citation needed]

In June 2019, OANN said that it reached 35 million homes.[19] Its website lists availability via DIRECTV, Verizon Fios, AT&T U-verse, Prism TV, and other distributors.[45] At the time, OAN had approximately 150 staff.[19]

At the beginning of 2020, it was reported that Trump allies were looking into purchasing OANN.[46]

Programming

In August 2014, OAN launched the show On Point with Tomi Lahren. Many clips from the program went viral, and by 2015, Lahren had gained widespread attention for her commentaries. On August 19, 2015, Lahren aired her final show at OAN.[47][48] On the week of August 24, former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin guest hosted a program on the network.[49][50]

In 2019, the channel aired the Canadian television film Claws of the Red Dragon, which had signed Steve Bannon as its American distributor.[51]

Content

OAN is known for its pro-Trump content, promotion of conspiracy theories, and criticisms of the mainstream media.[19] OANN has described itself as one of the "greatest supporters" of Trump.[22]

Pro-Trump content

OAN is pro-Trump.[23][52][53][54][19] The father of Charles Herring,[43] Robert Herring Sr., founder and CEO of the network, has ordered producers to promote pro-Trump stories, anti-Clinton stories, and anti-abortion stories, and to minimize stories about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.[23] Herring prohibited the network from running stories about polls which did not show Trump in the lead during the 2016 election.[23]

During the 2016 presidential campaign, the channel ran a special titled Betrayal at Benghazi: The Cost of Hillary Clinton’s Dereliction and Greed. Herring, the owner of the channel, sent his producers a report that falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton had a brain tumor, and asked them to check up on it. He also shared a report with producers claiming that Planned Parenthood had promoted abortion, and ordered them to minimize coverage of Pope Francis's US visit, due to the Pope's calls for action on global warming (see Laudato si'). Herring also repeatedly ordered his producers not to cover stories pertaining to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.[23]

According to former and current employees at the channel, as well as internal e-mails, by July 2017 the executives of the channel had directed the channel to "scuttle stories about police shootings, encourage antiabortion stories, minimize coverage of Russian aggression, and steer away from the new president’s troubles."[23]

In October 2017, the channel claimed without evidence that a "report" had been published which showed "U.K. Crime Rises 13% Annually Amid Spread of Radical Islamic Terror".[55] President Trump later repeated this falsehood, suggesting that he learned of it from OAN.[25][56]

In June 2017, OAN was granted a permanent seat in the White House's James Brady briefing room.[57] The network's Chief White House Correspondent, Trey Yingst, was one of the top five most called-upon reporters covering the Trump administration.[58] President Trump has been repeatedly called for questions from OAN during press conferences, including in February 2017 when Yingst asked the President about his campaign's contacts with the Russian government.[59] Also in February 2017, OAN was invited to a network lunch with President Trump.[60] In August 2017, President Trump praised OAN, saying: "It's a great network". In response, OAN CEO Robert Herring said that OAN considers itself a tough but fair presence in the White House press corps.[61]

OAN supported the Trump administration's revoking of CNN reporter Jim Acosta's press credentials; most major media outlets, including the conservative Fox News, opposed this decision. In a statement, Robert Herring attacked Fox News, saying he "can't believe Fox is on the other side."[62][63][64]

On January 12, 2020, an OANN broadcast promoted debunked conspiracy theories alleging illegal wiretapping of Donald Trump.[65] OAN broadcasts uninterrupted every speech delivered by President Trump.[19]

In August 2020, OANN tweeted a promotion for a television segment entitled "America Under Siege: The Attempt to Overthrow President Trump.” The tweet asserted that ongoing demonstrations in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing constituted a "coup attempt" that was "led by a well funded network of anarchists trying to take down the President." Trump retweeted the message.[12]

Murder of Seth Rich conspiracy theories

OANN promoted conspiracy theories about the murder of Seth Rich.[25]

Roy Moore sexual misconduct report controversy

After The Washington Post reported allegations that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore had made unwanted sexual advances toward teenagers when he was in his thirties, OAN "became a source of both positive coverage and stories that could cast doubt on his accusers."[66] In November 2017, OAN aired a segment citing a false rumor by an anonymous Twitter account that The Washington Post had offered $1,000 to Roy Moore's accusers.[67][68][69] OAN described the tweet as a "report" and described the tweeter as a "former Secret Service agent and Navy veteran".[67][68] The Twitter source had a history of tweeting falsehoods and conspiracy theories; the Twitter account had also made repeated and inconsistent lies about its identity, including appropriating the identity of a Navy serviceman who died in 2007.[68] After it was revealed that the story was a hoax, OAN did not retract its report.[67]

During his Senate campaign, Roy Moore cited OAN when he defended himself against the accusations,[70] including an OAN story that alleged his "Accusers Have Ties to Drug Dealers & Washington Post".[70][71][72]

During the night of the Alabama Senate election, OANN announced Moore had swept the election "by a large margin" when, in actuality, Moore had lost the race.[73] In its announcement, the network cited "unofficial polling", and the news anchor extended OAN CEO Robert Herring's congratulations to Moore on having run a "fine campaign."[73] OAN's website also published an erroneous article claiming Moore had won "despite attacks from Democrats about unverified allegations."[73] During election night, OAN also reported "a number of people have been caught trying to sneak into voting booths and vote illegally"; however, Alabama Secretary of State's office said it had no credible reports of voter fraud.[74]

Conspiracy theory about David Hogg

In February 2018, one of the hosts on OAN tweeted a conspiracy theory that a 17-year-old survivor in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, David Hogg, had been coached to speak against Trump by, and was "running cover" for, his retired FBI agent father.[75][76] Donald Trump Jr. "liked" the OAN host's tweet.[76] The younger Hogg responded, describing the conspiracy theory to Buzzfeed News as "immature, rude, and inhuman."[77]

Syria chemical attack

In April 2018, while on an al-Assad regime-led tour of the area of the Douma chemical attack, an OAN correspondent claimed there was no evidence that a chemical attack had occurred.[78] The correspondent said, "Not one of the people that I spoke to in that neighborhood said that they had seen anything or heard anything about a chemical attack on that day" and that residents "loved Bashar al-Assad."[78]

In May 2019, OAN published a report claiming the White Helmets had admitted to staging fake chemical weapons attacks, which were intended to put blame on the Assad regime. OAN referred to the humanitarian organization, which is partly funded by the US State Department, as "terrorist-linked". The Daily Beast characterized this story as a "smear" that could be traced directly as Russian disinformation.[53]

Conspiracy theorist reporter Jack Posobiec

Since 2018, far-right conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec has been employed by OANN as a political correspondent.[79] Posobiec was a prominent proponent of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and of the murder of Seth Rich conspiracy theory.[19][54][80] In 2020, during the George Floyd protests in Buffalo, New York, Posobiec falsely reported and promoted another unsubstantiated conspiracy theory regarding pipe bombs.[81]

False story about Bible ban

In April 2018, OAN ran a segment falsely claiming that a California bill would ban the sale of Bibles.[82] Within 24 hours, the OAN video was viewed 2.4 million times on Facebook.[82] Snopes determined that this claim was a misrepresentation; the bill actually targeted gay conversion therapy.[82]

Unsubstantiated claims about Ammar Campa-Najjar

During the mid-term campaign for the November 2018 U.S. elections, OAN ran a segment claiming that Democratic congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar's "father praised the deaths of the Israelis, saying they deserved to die." The Washington Post fact-checker noted that there is no attribution to this statement in the OAN segment. An OANN commentator also claimed that groups connected to the Muslim Brotherhood donated to Campa-Najjar's campaign and that the FEC website showed this.The Washington Post fact-checker said it "couldn’t find evidence of this after searching Campa-Najjar’s filings with the Federal Election Commission." Nevertheless, the OAN segment was used in attack ads by Campa-Najjar's Republican opponent Duncan Hunter to support the false suggestion that Campa-Najjar was tied to terrorism.[83]

Interview subject with a fake name

In July 2019, the network interviewed pro-Trump activist Logan Cook, known online as Carpe Donktum,[84] about allegations of anti-conservative bias on Reddit. OANN identified the man as Dennis F. Charles and said he was a "a conservative social media analyst."[54] OANN did not disclose that Cook was using a pseudonym.[54]

Russia

OAN is known for downplaying threats posed to the United States by Russia. According to a former OAN producer, on his first day at OAN he was told, "Yeah, we like Russia here."[19][85] One of OAN's reporters, Kristian Brunovich Rouz, simultaneously works for the Russian propaganda outlet and news agency Sputnik, which is state-owned; when Rouz runs favorable segments on OAN that relate to Russia, OAN does not disclose that he also works for Sputnik.[24][86][87]

In September 2019, OAN parent Herring Networks filed suit in federal court in San Diego, California, against MSNBC host Rachel Maddow for $10 million after Maddow said the network "literally [is] paid Russian propaganda" on her July 22, 2019 program. Maddow had referenced a Daily Beast story identifying Rouz as also working for Sputnik. Also named in the suit were Comcast, MSNBC and NBCUniversal Media.[88] A hearing on a motion to strike brought by Maddow was originally scheduled for March 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the arguments were moved to May 2020 by Judge Cynthia Bashant.[89] The judge dismissed the lawsuit, finding the claim was not defamation, but that a "reasonable viewer" would recognize it as a reasonable summation of the article published by The Daily Beast. OAN responded by saying it would appeal the decision.[90][91]

George Soros false claims

OANN has run stories falsely claiming that George Soros, a Jewish-Hungarian philanthropist, collaborated with the Nazis when he was a 14-year-old.[24] The network has also accused Soros of funding migrant caravans to the United States.[24]

During a report from Ukraine with Rudy Giuliani, in December 2019, OANN correspondent Chanel Rion claimed without evidence that Soros had shown up at the Kyiv airport with "human Dobermans in little black Mercedes" to find them. The claim was ridiculed in Ukrainian and American media.[92][93][94] Soros was not known to have visited Ukraine since 2016.[93]

Giuliani has promoted conspiracy theories related to the Trump–Ukraine scandal on OANN.[95][96][97]

Coronavirus outbreak conspiracy theories

In March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the OANN chief White House correspondent Chanel Rion promoted a conspiracy theory that the virus originated in a North Carolina lab, citing information from a "citizen investigator and a monitored source amongst a certain set of the DC intelligence community" who was actually a Twitter conspiracy theorist. As she described this individual during a televised report from the White House grounds, an image was displayed of actor Keir Dullea in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. She also asserted that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading expert on infectious diseases, had funded the creation of the coronavirus.[98][99] Rion later claimed without evidence that other mainstream media outlets were parroting Communist Party of China propaganda.[100] During a press conference with Trump, she asked him whether it was "racist" to use the term "Chinese food" and continued:

major left-wing news media—even in this room—have teamed up with Chinese Communist Party narratives and they’re claiming you’re racist for making these claims about 'Chinese virus.' Is it alarming that major media players, just to oppose you, are consistently siding with foreign state propaganda, Islamic radicals and Latin gangs and cartels? And they work right here at the White House with direct access to you and your team?[98][101][102]

Rion previously worked as a political cartoonist, and had among other things promoted murder of Seth Rich conspiracy theories and written an anti-feminist children's book.[98][103] She without evidence claimed that former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe were involved in an affair.[104] OANN later retracted the story.[104]

In April 2020, Rion was expelled from the White House Correspondents Association and her formal seat was removed for flagrantly violating newly implemented social distancing rules in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.[3] Despite this, Rion has boasted she was personally invited to attend by press secretary Stephanie Grisham a day after the ban.[105]

During May 2020, Kristian Rouz created a package for OAN in which he claimed the existence of “mounting evidence of a globalist conspiracy” involving the Clintons, Soros, Bill Gates, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the Chinese government. No evidence exists for any of this.[106] (He also compiled the wholly fabricated story OANN ran in 2017 alleging that Hillary Clinton's political action committee secretly gave $800,000 to Antifa.)[24][106]

Killing of George Floyd protests

In June 2020, during protests against racism and police brutality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, OANN reporter Jack Posobiec falsely claimed that there were pipe bombs planted at the Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C., and that "federal assets [were] in pursuit". There were no pipe bombs, nor is there any evidence that any "federal assets" pursued it.[107]

Buffalo police shoving incident

In June 2020, OANN claimed, without evidence, that an elderly protester who had been seriously injured by police "was attempting to capture the radio communications signature of Buffalo police officers."[87] The OANN, again without evidence, linked the man to the Antifa movement. President Trump later posted a tweet alleging that the protester "could be an ANTIFA provocateur", referencing OANN's unfounded conspiracy theory.[81][108][109] OANN journalist Kristian Rouz[86] did not provide evidence, referring only to right-wing blog The Conservative Treehouse,[110] which describes itself as a "Rag Tag Bunch of Conservative Misfits". After the incident, OANN founder Robert Herring tweeted to Trump, "we won't let you down as your source for credible news!"[87]

Reception

In March 2015, University of Southern California media professor Marty Kaplan praised the network for its focus on what he viewed as impartial news reporting, writing in The Huffington Post, "Ten minutes of OAN tells me eight stories; 10 minutes of Fox or MSNBC tells me one story, to make me mad," while commenting that OAN's opinion segments were "as delusional and incendiary as anything on conservative talk radio or Fox."[111] Don Kaplan of the New York Daily News echoed similar sentiments, writing in December 2016 that, "it's by far one of the most fair news outlets around, serving up a daily diet of ad-free, non-ideological, nonstop news—without smirking, snarky anchors or much fanfare" while stating that its opinion segments "skew hard to the right."[112]

In July 2017, Marc Fisher wrote in The Washington Post that the network was "a reliably sympathetic voice of the [Trump] administration’s goals and actions".[113] In July 2018, Media Matters for America criticized OAN host Liz Wheeler for advancing conspiracy theories relating to the Planned Parenthood 2015 undercover videos controversy and other abortion topics and tying tangentially related news stories to the "so-called liberal hypocrisy on abortion."[114] The Wikipedia community deprecated OAN as a source on the English Wikipedia in late 2019 for publishing "falsehoods, conspiracy theories, and intentionally misleading stories".[115] In April 2020, John Oliver ran a segment of Last Week Tonight criticizing OAN's far-right bias and promotion of unfounded conspiracy theories, stating: "it is more important than ever to be on the lookout for OAN's bullshit and to make sure no one that you know is falling for it either."[116]

Ratings

OAN does not subscribe to Nielsen ratings, citing the rating companies' high price. In March 2019, OAN cited Comscore set-top-box viewership data to claim it was the "fourth-rated cable news network" that month.[117]

See also

References

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