One America News Network is a known hub for extreme right-wing opinion, but the network has gone even further to fan the flames in recent weeks leading up to the midterm elections. OAN talent and guests have used increasingly apocalyptic rhetoric to describe the stakes of the country continuing under Democrats’ “progressive liberal woke agenda” to “tear down and destroy everything good about America.”
It is often a mix of “political correct woke” headlines or the simple existence of a Democratic-controlled Congress and White House that prompts an outburst of anger from OAN personalities directed at “true communism” and its “destruction of the greatest country this world has ever known.” For example, green energy policy is portrayed as a question of “whether or not America will be a sovereign nation.” Hospitals providing care to trans people are examples of the “evil in our midst” during “a spiritual battle.” And investigations of former President Donald Trump are part of “a long struggle” going back to those who “first settled this land.”
OAN’s overt partisanship and lack of journalistic standards are a perfect setup for the network to rhetorically increase the stakes of the midterm elections. The network has already shown a preference for candidates who deny the 2020 election, and expressed its hopes — if Republicans take control of Congress — for punitive investigations of the right’s political enemies and legislative attacks on trans people.
Taken together with dire warnings of national annihilation under Democratic rule, OAN’s coverage in the lead-up to midterms is arguing that “America First” candidates must win in November to pursue vindictive, extremist policies to save the country from the “woke agenda.”
- In a nearly 11-minute monologue, OAN host Dan Ball introduced his September 26 interview with Trump by asking his audience a pointed question: “Where did my America go?” Ball continued, claiming that “the progressive liberal woke agenda” has been “creeping into our country for years now” and seeking to “destroy the very fabric of our nation.” Faced with this omnipresent threat, Ball warned that “we need millions of voices standing up and saying, ‘No more.’ No more of this destruction of the greatest country this world has ever known.” Declaring that the U.S. is “on the precipice” of falling to “true communism,” Ball told the audience, “This is a fight between good versus evil. So which side are you on?”
- Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman told OAN’s In Focus on September 20 that “the country needs to understand that we are at war.” He warned that “January 6 will look like a warm-up act. In fact, that wasn't violent. ... But next time it's going to be like the storming of the Bastille.”
- OAN guest Lee Smith claimed that fighting the “corruption,” “criminality,” and “psychosis” of the Biden administration is part of “a long struggle that we’re involved in as Americans.” Smith, the conservative author of The Permanent Coup, claimed that in this generational conflict, “we are standing on the shoulders of our ancestors, the champions — American champions — who first settled this land, all the way down to our own parents. They're watching how we discipline ourselves. They're watching our resolve, our resilience, and determination. And our children will tell stories of it in the future.”
- OAN guest Greg Price claimed that “we are up against truly evil people who will do anything for power and do anything to destroy our country. They’re decaying our culture every single day, and the bottom line is we need to do something to stop it.” Price, a former Daily Caller writer, added that “there is no limited-government solution to a lot of these problems,” and “when we take back power” in November, Republicans must begin “getting out of their comfort zone and … using power in ways that help your voters and deliver wins for your side.”
- In Focus host Addison Smith said that “our nation is hanging by a thread” over the question of “whether or not America will be a sovereign nation.” “If we lose our sovereignty,” Smith worried, “we lose everything else along with it, including our economic system, including our culture and traditions and our religious underpinning.” After claiming that “nationalism necessarily builds societies — it has built this society, it has built the West,” Smith added that “while communism can certainly wreak untold havoc on it, globalism is the only thing that can thoroughly destroy it.”
- Former Fox Nation host Lara Logan told Ball that Democrats are “implementing a globalist policy” that is “completely in violation of the Constitution,” ultimately “infiltrating 100 million people into the United States as the basis for forming a regional government instead of a national government.” Ball agreed that “we’re not talking about the Great Reset” enough, or “how they’re changing the fabric of this nation and what they’re attempting to do.” Logan raised the stakes, adding that “this isn't just about the fall of America and the West. This is about the end of life as we have known it.”
- Interviewing an anti-trans filmmaker and fearmongering about gender-affirming care for trans youth, OAN host Dan Ball announced, “This push on our kids is demonic and disgusting.” “There is a spiritual battle going on,” said Real America guest Frank Panico. “We’re made in God’s image, and the evil one wants to destroy that, whether it be through abortion, or suicide,” or health care for trans people, Panico said, followed by a litany of anti-trans comments.
- Claiming the right needs to “go on offense” and “make stuff like this illegal,” OAN’s Smith said that health care for trans youth, “along with abortion, is the most evil thing that our country is doing to children.” Discussing another hospital targeted by right-wing media for providing gender-affirming care, Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer claimed that health care for trans youth is an example of “evil in our midst, and we shouldn’t hesitate to call it evil. … This ought to be the kind of thing to wake up our side in a real call-to-arms moment.”
- OAN correspondent Pearson Sharp claimed the war in Ukraine “was manufactured from the beginning by the globalists and the tyrants in Washington, and designed specifically to cripple our economy and plunge the world into a massive depression.” Sharp asked OAN viewers: “Are you paying attention? They are trying to start World War III. They are trying to provoke Russia into starting armageddon. Why? Power. Power, and control.”
- “This whole political correct woke movement in this country is going to get people killed,” Ball declared. “It's ruining our country, and some day, folks, mark my words, it will lead to the destruction of America as we know it.” Complaining about a report that Navy SEAL training may be abusive to recruits, Ball said, “You need brave, bad-ass men willing to pick up that rifle, head into harm's way, and keep us safe. And if we lose that, my fellow Americans, well, we're doomed.”
Fearmongering about polyamory, Tipping Point host Kara McKinney said: “Back when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage in Obergefell in 2015, anyone who wisely pointed out that destroying the natural, God-given reality of marriage being between one man and one woman would lead to man-made horrors beyond our wildest imaginations were laughed out of the room, even by some on the right. Yet each new day, we're vindicated."
Although life as we know it does face existential threats — perhaps most prominently from climate change — OAN saves its cataclysmic warnings for an America that remains under Democratic Party control after November.