One America News Network has been home to countless segments in recent months from hosts, guests, and correspondents attacking abortion access and spreading narratives that confine women to traditional maternal roles. According to recent reporting, OAN owes its current platform for toxic messaging and far-right misinformation to the guiding hand of AT&T, making the telecommunications giant complicit in the cable channel’s pattern of incendiary rhetoric.
Media Matters has previously highlighted the network’s horrific past of propagating anti-LGBTQ hate, spreading racist falsehoods, and advocating against COVID-19 vaccines for months. Additionally, OAN has repeatedly worked to undermine democracy by pushing for unwarranted election “audits” and falsely claiming the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump.
Earlier in October, Reuters reported that OAN received 90% of its revenue from a contract with AT&T-owned television platforms, quoting Robert Herring Sr. that the network was launched after he was inspired by AT&T executives who “wanted a conservative network” to counterbalance the “seven others on the other [leftwing] side.” AT&T’s court filings reviewed by Reuters show the telecom company provided OAN monthly fees during a five-year deal totalling to “about $57 million.” The Dallas Morning News -- a prominent newspaper with offices nearby AT&T’s corporate headquarters -- summarized the corporation’s latest public scrutiny for its ties to OAN, highlighting pushback from both progressive and right-wing PACs, the NAACP, and even comedian John Oliver on his AT&T-owned HBO series Last Week Tonight.
Though AT&T continues to support OAN financially despite its hateful rhetoric, the multinational corporation quickly tried to spin its support for OAN with half-truths and misdirection, which Media Matters debunked.
AT&T may claim that it “has never taken a position on the issue of abortion,” but by funding OAN’s anti-abortion commentary, AT&T demonstrates its tacit support of vilifying reproductive health access. And considering the network’s harmful messaging on women’s social roles, AT&T shows the corporation’s high tolerance of toxicity in the projects it bankrolls.
OAN’s flagrant anti-abortion coverage
- On September 2, OAN’s Jasmin Hovey covered the new abortion-restricting Texas law known as SB8 by featuring an interview with the director of Texas Right to Life, Elizabeth Graham. According to Hovey, Graham called the legislation “a huge victory for women” and said she believed SB8 shows “a trend in America leaning toward empowering the family unit and away from tearing apart an unborn child.”
- During an October 19 appearance on Tipping Point, American Life League Vice President Jim Sedlak claimed that “Planned Parenthood's goal is to get all the kids hooked on sex” to sell birth control and abortions. Sedlak also accused Planned Parenthood of “stealing the souls of our young people because they're leading them into lives of sexual sin.”
- Anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson appeared on Tipping Point on September 1, saying she believes SB8 “provides a blueprint for the rest of the country.” Johnson also called the impending layoffs at abortion clinics in Texas “a blessing in disguise” for individuals losing their jobs.
- Responding to a CNN segment about a teen girl who was forced to appear before a court in Texas to ask to have an abortion, In Focus host Stephanie Hamill said, “The story is rather shocking. It almost kind of tells a story of selfishness. … [The media] make it seem the only option is to abort your child, and I think that’s like, a really despicable message.”
- Appearing on Real America with Dan Ball, Live Action founder Lila Rose compared abortion to the injustice of slavery: “We’ve had the injustice of abortion for almost 50 years since 1973, since Supreme Court justices made it the law of the land. But we’ve had other injustices in this country for even longer. We had slavery in our country for many more decades than that and there was this sense of ‘oh, it’s impossible for us to eradicate this evil. We’re going to have to tolerate it.’ No. An unjust law is no law at all and that’s what abortion law is today.”
- Discussing the life of Norma McCorvey, the woman cited as Jane Roe in the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in the United States, Tipping Point host Kara McKinney said, “Whatever the truth is, the moral of the story is that abortion is a destructive force that only causes pain and suffering for all involved.” Later in the segment, McKinney continued, “In many ways, you feel like abortion really, it kind of preys on broken women and just leaves even more brokenness in its wake.”
- During an appearance on June 21 edition of Tipping Point, Abby Johnson stated that the no-show rate at abortion clinics, or the rate of abortion appointments that are scheduled but not kept, can increase from 20% up to 75% when people pray outside clinics. Johnson then advocated for viewers to “go out there and pray” to encourage more no-shows and be “the reason that a baby was saved.”
- While appearing on Tipping Point on April 20, anti-abortion activist and priest Frank Pavone said, “Each and every one of us know we don’t need, for example, a church official or even a Bible to tell us that taking a baby and pulling that baby apart limb from limb is wrong.” He went on to say, “You tell a mother she can kill her child, well then you’ve opened the door to kill everyone else.”
- On the October 11 edition of Tipping Point, McKinney described abortion as “murder, plain and simple.” Later in the segment, The Federalist’s Spencer Lindquist characterized pro-choice individuals as “fine with the industrialized mass murder of babies through abortion.”
OAN’s regressive coverage on women
- On October 21's Tipping Point, conservative podcaster Landon Starbuck accused sex workers who create pornography of “essentially enslaving themselves to the male servitude and calling it empowerment.”
- McKinney asked actor Greg Ellis to talk about “how so many of these different laws and protections that we put into place to help protect women and women who are the victims of domestic abuse” are being weaponized to “torpedo men and torpedo their rights.” She also asked what reforms Ellis would recommend to protect men from false allegations of abuse.
- On September 30, McKinney brought on conservative commentator Lauren Chen to discuss what McKinney called sex positivity’s “negative effect on young women.” Chen argued that sex positivity leads to STIs, emotional effects, and abortions. McKinney agreed, saying sex-positive culture leaves women “feeling so sad and empty inside” and suggested that by putting off marriage and motherhood, sex positivity among women “tipped the scales in favor of men.”
- “Did you know generations of women have been poisoning themselves in the name of so-called sexual liberation?” McKinney asked her viewers on September 22. She continued, fearmongering that women were being spiritually poisoned by “neglecting to build stable, long-lasting relationships in favor of the pursuit of fleeting self-serving pleasure” as well as suffering “real physical damage” from birth control pills.
- McKinney asked The Federalist’s Joy Pullmann about her perspective on how the choice for someone to be childless -- which McKinney referred to as a “selfish way of life” -- is “maintained through violence.” Pullman suggested that society needs to “encourage and affirm women’s … desire” to become mothers.
- During a segment on Real America with Dan Ball, OAN correspondent Jezzamine Wolk ranted about how “men and women are not the same,” saying women “were designed to be nurturing, built-in maternal instincts, natural multitaskers.” Wolk went on about how men are “strong,” “rugged,” and “built to be providers.'' She later added though she believes in women empowerment, “if a boyfriend or a male family member asks me to make them a sandwich, I’ll make them a sandwich.”
- On Tipping Point, Red State’s Brandon Morse advocated for the return of the nuclear family and motherhood “not just because we need the birth rate to rise again but because it helps develop a stable society.” Morse attributed the decline in motherhood to feminism, saying, “For all the raging that feminists do against masculinity and toxic masculinity in men, they hate femininity even more. They go out and they lash out against mothers.”
- During a Tipping Point segment about the Supreme Court refusing to hear a challenge to men-only military draft, Morse said the potential inclusion of women to the draft would “take them away from their children, their husbands, take them out of the home -- some place that many women would rather be at. They certainly don’t want to be at war.” Morse suggested that including women in the draft would be only to “prove a point” about gender equality and would tarnish the reputation of the U.S. military.
- During an appearance on Real America with Dan Ball, conservative radio host Dennis Prager repeated an argument he had made in an old column that women who love their husbands should not to let their mood get in the way of sleeping with their husbands “given how important sex is to most men.”