One America News Network has refused to air any of the January 6 committee hearings live. Instead, the network continues to counterprogram with pro-riot propaganda and defenses of people charged with January 6-related offenses. This is both a direct reaction to the congressional investigation and a complement to OAN’s ongoing denial of the 2020 election results.
Since June 9, the date of the first hearing, OAN has aired Capitol Punishment -- an erratic, pro-insurrectionist documentary defending the Capitol rioters and suggesting civil war -- at least 22 times, including every day the January 6 committee has held a public hearing.
The network has also featured interviews with an attorney for multiple January 6 defendants, and explored conspiracy theories about both the former Senate sergeant-at-arms and the Proud Boys. Hosts and guests have denounced the “turning of the war against terror inward against political opponents here at home,” to cast these supposed opponents into a “two-tier justice system: one for those who obey the will of the ‘Destroy Trump’ establishment, and one for those who dared dissent.”
On July 12, the day of the seventh hearing, Real America host Dan Ball cited a post from Gateway Pundit to claim that the “Proud Boys had nothing to do with” the Capitol attack, they even “helped law enforcement inside the Capitol.” “Nothing was pre-planned. But there were instigators in that crowd, oh yes there were,” he claimed. Ball began pounding his desk for emphasis, “Just like this network and this show have told you since last January 7 or 8, for crying out loud. But they continue to persecute innocent Americans for political gain.”
Starting while the insurrection was still in progress, OAN has consistently downplayed, excused, or outright celebrated it. While the mob was in the Capitol, OAN figures encouraged Mike Pence to seize the moment and overturn the election. One OAN reporter claimed that Antifa was responsible for the attack and declared that the real “treason” and “coup” was done not by the Capitol mob, but by Democrats for “stealing the election.”
While the network’s future is in question as it faces a July 30 deadline to renegotiate its contract with Verizon, OAN is still as determined as ever to fight against the reality of the insurrection, and defend those involved. Just since the House committee’s hearings have begun, the network has aired the following segments:
- On July 20, OAN aired an interview with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) complaining that the Department of Justice declined to prosecute “the Colbert Nine” — staffers of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert who were arrested for unlawful entry to a congressional office building. Greene called it an example of the “two-tier justice system right now in the Democrats’ America … They can’t pick and choose based on which political party they want to prosecute.”
- In a July 12 segment, Ball suggested that the death of the 71 year old former Senate sergeant-at-arms is suspicious, and may have something to do with his “serious questions” about Capitol security. Ball also made clear his belief that any Trump supporters caught in the January 6 investigation were victims of collusion between antifa, the government, and Black Lives Matter to entrap them: “This was pushed, staged, you had Antifa, BLM, FBI informants -- yes, there were some MAGA folks involved, but they were pushed and instigated by the people we’re talking about.”
- On July 12, Rion complained that “a lot of these people” charged with crimes “are facing 20, 30, 70 years in prison for walking up the steps and down.” In response, January 6 defense attorney Joseph McBride — a somewhat frequent OAN guest — falsely claimed that the committee is saying that “if you showed up to the Capitol on the 6 and participated in any way, you’re guilty of terrorism and insurrection, and so on and so forth.”
- On July 10, OAN re-aired One America News Investigates -- Justice for None: Straka & J6, an hour-long interview with OAN White House correspondent Chanel Rion and convicted Capitol rioter Brandon Straka. Rion denounced “the dramatic zeal with which Biden's DOJ and Democrats have abused the justice system against those who were in any way associated with that day,” and promised viewers that Straka’s interview would show “a two-tier justice system: one for those who obey the will of the ‘Destroy Trump’ establishment, and one for those who dared dissent.”
- In the same Justice for None special, Rion credited Straka for spawning such a “mass exodus” from the Democratic Party with his so-called #WalkAway campaign that “Straka and his movement were constant targets” and he ultimately “became a trophy kill” for his involvement in the Capitol attack, “an ideological vengeance target by establishment politics and media alike, eager to frame Brandon’s role, then take him down.”
- OAN has frequently re-aired a June interview with Edward “Jake” Lang, allegedly from his “prison cell,” wherein he called the investigation a “farce” trying to “hang us for a two-hour disturbance” — and of course to promote his own upcoming “documentary” about January 6. Lang is in jail awaiting trial on multiple charges, including accusations of attacking Capitol defenders with an aluminum baseball bat and a riot shield.
- On June 13, OAN D.C. Bureau Chief John Hines played a recording of January 6 defendant Jeremy Brown, describing himself as “a January 6 political prisoner of war” warning people about the government’s “well-orchestrated and highly-produced lie” about the Capitol attack. Brown’s attorney, the same Joseph McBride who’s appeared elsewhere on OAN, said that, as a green beret, his client is “trained to stand up for our country in season and out of season,” while downplaying the Capitol attack as people “just holding hands and singing and praying, and then the police begin to attack them,” claiming that because his clients “defended them against a wrongful attack, they are now being threatened with 20, 30 years, or life in prison.”
- McBride also mentioned several of his other clients still in jail, one being held in what is “commonly referred to as the D.C. gulag,” who is being “psychologically abused.” McBride claimed that another client’s Celiac disease has “destroyed his organs and caused him to lose 40 pounds on two different occasions.” “100% they’re being targeted politically,” the defense attorney said, claiming that his clients are “thrown in the hole” after he appears on OAN.
- On June 13, Tipping Point host Kara McKinney denounced the January 6 committee’s “turning of the war against terror inward against political opponents here at home. Think January 6 political prisoners, members of Congress being spied on, and having their mail opened by the DOJ.”
- On June 8, Real America fill-in host Rogan O’Handley interviewed Greene about people in jail over January 6. Greene complained that they are “being treated like political prisoners of war” and “all of their due process rights are being violated” in service of the committee and Democrats’ “great big lie.”