A stylized version of the One America News logo, repeating as if in a digital display glitch, against a red background.
Molly Butler / Media Matters

Research/Study Research/Study

Harassment, racism, and Christianity “under attack”: One month of One America News prime time

One America News made a name for itself among right-wing media outlets in the wake of the 2020 election, spreading debunked claims of fraud and pro-Trump conspiracy theories to its conservative cable audience. But now, as its existing contract with DirecTV potentially expires soon and the network faces congressional calls for accountability and a potential lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems, the channel’s prime-time programming demonstrates that there is no need to financially support its absurd bigotry and lies. 

Founded in 2013, OAN didn’t get much attention until 2020, following several Twitter endorsements from then-President Donald Trump. After Fox News’ (correct) election night projection that President Joe Biden would win Arizona, some right-wing viewers -- including Trump himself -- turned to OAN, as well as its similar competitor Newsmax. (Although OAN doesn’t participate in Nielsen ratings, Newsmax has begun to see its ratings decline from post-election peaks.)

Media Matters reviewed OAN’s prime-time programming (which has featured a revolving door of personalities in recent years) from February 24 to March 24 and found a wide range of lies and hysteria, including targeting its media rivals for harassment, downplaying police brutality, dismissing transgender rights, lying that Trump actually won the “stolen” 2020 election, warning that “Judeo-Christian values” are under threat, defending Mr. Potato Head from the “woke mob,” and claiming Democrats are replacing white voters with undocumented immigrants. 

While many of these sentiments echo other right-wing outlets, they are notable because the extremism and sheer delusions touted by OAN go above and beyond what Fox News typically allows on air. The network’s unique willingness to spread disinformation, violent transphobia, racism, harassment against media figures, and ignorant culture war bromides over this one-month period unequivocally shows that OAN is not, in any meaningful sense, a news organization -- but whether they want to or not, anyone with a TV provider like Verizon FiOS, DirecTV, CenturyLink, or GCI may be paying to support these belligerent lies through their cable subscriber fees.

  • Targeting journalists

  • OAN host Dan Ball suggested doxxing MSNBC’s Joy Reid for her tweets criticizing conservative racism. Upset about a tweet by Reid, Real America host Dan Ball asked in a serious tone, “Can we censure a talk show host? Let's just dox her online. Let's see if we can get MSNBC to actually pull her off the air for that kind of comment, shall we?”

  • Video file

    Citation From the March 5, 2021, edition of OAN's Real America with Dan Ball

  • Ball launched a one-sided feud against New York Times reporter Rachel Abrams. Abrams, who previously wrote a February article about a House hearing concerning OAN, became a target for the network after beginning a new article. On March 17, Ball launched a seven-minute attack against Abrams in retaliation for what he called her “hit piece” and “a steamy pile of word vomit” that viewers should “read … and then wipe your ass with it.” Ball also made a point of slowly repeating Abrams’ name for his audience, “if you’re taking notes,” and putting her work email address on screen; earlier in the day, OAN first broadcast her email -- and her unredacted cell phone number -- and told viewers to “stand up to intimidation by the left.”

  • OAN correspondent Jack Posobiec smeared The Washington Post’s Jamal Khashoggi after his murder. On March 1, Posobiec claimed without substantiation that Khashoggi was “a Holocaust denier” and “a member and supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood -- he joined along the same time as his close friend, Osama bin Laden.” Khashoggi’s former associations with the brotherhood beginning in the 1970s were public knowledge when he was alive, as was his former friendship with bin Laden, which ended after the 9/11 attacks. Posobiec also claimed that Khashoggi was not “a Washington Post journalist” in part because his “English was limited.”

  • OAN host Stephanie Hamill denounced CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer as “the unofficial spokesperson for the NAACP.” Blitzer had hosted a spokesperson for the NAACP to discuss the diversity of Biden’s cabinet nominees and the apparent double standards to which nominees of color were held. As a result of this anodyne segment, In Focus host Stephanie Hamill dismissed Blitzer as a “spokesperson for the NAACP” -- a line so good she felt the need to repeat it.

  • Racism

  • OAN and Dennis Prager downplayed a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans because Asian Americans have “the highest ... per capita income earners.” During a segment using b-roll footage of attacks against Asian Americans, host Dan Ball agreed with Prager’s claim that the U.S. is “the least” bigoted multi-ethnic country “in the world,” pointing to Asian Americans having “the lowest divorce numbers, the highest, I think, per capita income earners, [and] their kids are educated well.” Prager argued that perceptions of a serious rise in hate crimes were the result of Democrats’ Soviet-style manipulations, first of “Blacks” and “now it’s with Asian Americans.”

  • Video file

    Citation From the March 22, 2021, edition of OAN's Real America with Dan Ball

  • OAN complained that the “African descent” of a Black woman meant that “the woke movement” allowed her to be racist against Asians. Ball said that former Teen Vogue editor Alexi McCammond was “getting a hall pass” for old anti-Asian tweets (for which she ultimately resigned) because “she has African descent in her” and Black people are allowed to be racist. OAN correspondent Chanel Rion added that “the woke movement is all about criticizing excellence,” and Ball cited the example of Asian Americans demographically “beating whites, Blacks, Latinos ... everybody” due to their hard work and resistance to “this victimhood that’s happening in America.”

  • OAN hosted Papa John's former CEO to talk about his “last 20 months” of work “to get rid of this n-word in my vocabulary.” 

  • Video file

    Citation From the March 5, 2021, edition of One America News' The Tipping Point

  • Election lies

  • Ball and Judicial Watch speculated that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) attempted to use the military to overthrow Trump after the insurrection. Ball asked if Pelosi telling the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that Trump was “unhinged” two days after the insurrection was evidence of “the speaker of the House trying to undermine the power of the commander in chief and our Constitution.” He then declared that “this almost sounds like an attempted coup,” as his guest speculated that something illegal happened around the “unhinged remarks by the speaker.”

  • On the debut of her OAN show, a former Trump Advisory Board member lied that Trump won the election in November, “which as everyone knows, but not all care to admit, was stolen.” Natalie Harp began her show with a promise to give viewers “the real story ... news, not narratives.” Predictably, several minutes later she lied that the 2020 election was “rigged” and “stolen,” pointing to the “suitcases” conspiracy theory in Georgia, and attacked “so-called Republicans” in the state who “could’ve stopped the steal but they didn’t.”

  • Video file

    Citation From the March 22, 2021, edition of OAN's The Real Story with Natalie Harp

  • Natalie Harp misleadingly claimed that a Wisconsin “vote dump in the middle of the night changed the results of the election.” Harp said “it’s about time” someone investigated this debunked conspiracy theory, adding that she wanted to “start seeing subpoenas” and possibly criminal charges: “They impacted the results of an election. We all saw the voter dump that happened. … Are we going to see any accountability here where they’re going to have to pay for what they did?”

  • Black Lives Matter

  • OAN falsely suggested that George Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose. Several OAN prime-time hosts have lied that Floyd actually died of a fentanyl overdose, not police brutality, due to the “lethal” amount of it found during two autopsies performed -- the same autopsies that conclusively established his cause of death as homicide, not an overdose.

  • Hamill: Black Lives Matter is “based off of a lie” about “racist cops going out there and shooting unarmed Black men.” In response to legitimate questions about how the national Black Lives Matter organization distributes money to its chapters, the host of In Focus claimed the entire movement is “a total farce” built on a media-enabled “lie” that Black people are disproportionately harmed by police violence, blaming the media for “putting Americans against each other” and fomenting “destruction” and “chaos.”

  • Ball claimed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act created “a hit list” of police officers “so someone can go look [them] up and attack” cops. Ball, speaking with QAnon-friendly Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), denounced the police reform law as “a hit list” against police officers because it would establish a National Police Misconduct Registry. The host said all that “scumbag criminals” have to do is file a “BS, bogus complaint” to get an officer listed, who would presumably then be attacked.

  • Transphobia

  • Ball frequently misgenders Biden HHS official Dr. Rachel Levine, because “whatever.” Ball referred to Levine, then a nominee for the Department of Health and Human Services, as “she -- he, biologically he,” and referred to all trans people as “transgenders.” Ball accused trans people of undermining freedom of religion and “so many other laws we have” with their attempts to secure equal rights. Ball regularly misgenders Levine on OAN, falsely claiming “I don’t know what pronoun I’m supposed to use” and laughing when others deadname her, because “whatever.” Levine was confirmed as the assistant secretary of health on March 24.

  • Hamill hosted a segment framing health care for trans children as child abuse. Hamill claimed that “children aren’t capable” of deciding their own gender identity and denounced Democrats’ “assault on the sexes,” a reference to support for transgender rights. Hamill also referred to puberty blockers and gender-affirming surgery as “the unethical treatment of children,” even though affirming the gender identity of trans kids is widely recognized as the best care for them and can literally save their lives. Additionally, The Washington Post has reported that for trans and gender-diverse children, “gender-affirming care would not include any kind of medical intervention until they hit puberty,” and it's not an automatic process.

  • OAN guest and Trump surrogate the Rev. Darrell Scott: “Someone that's born a biological male simply because they have a psychological predilection or persuasion that tends towards the other sex -- a male tends towards, internally, he tends to identify himself as female -- your inner intentions or inner predilections do not change your physical body.” Scott, a guest on OAN, continued attacking trans youth in sports, suggesting the issue was part of a grand conspiracy to silence opposition: “Everyone that's labeled transphobic doesn't necessarily have a fear of transsexualism. They just simply say that it doesn't fit in this arena or venue that you're trying to fit it into. And once again they're trying to take away our rights to have an opinion, so that people can go along with whatever the government party line is, and whatever particular political party is in power will determine what the government party line is. No, uh-uh, I'm not going for it.” Hamill claimed that the Equality Act “really [has] nothing to do about equality,” because it’s already illegal to discriminate against people -- which is not always true.

  • Immigration

  • An OAN host warned about Democrats' plan to “import a foreign-born population … [of] about 37 million by the year 2031,” with help from “mini-Jane Fondas'' betraying America. Tipping Point host Kara McKinney’s comment fearmongering about the deaths of 13 people in a car crash near the southern border echoed the “great replacement” conspiracy theory espoused by white supremacists. The theory falsely states that “elites,” which often means Jewish people, are replacing the majority-white populations of “western” countries with immigrants of color. The host ended her racist rant by denouncing her policy opponents as “race-baiters” and “a bunch of mini-Jane Fondas running around and taking the enemy’s side instead of ours,” asking, “And how did that work out in Vietnam?”

  • Video file

    Citation From the March 3, 2021, edition of OAN's The Tipping Point 

  • Kara McKinney complained about “cartel members slipping through” incomplete sections of the border wall, with her guest warning that “horrible things are going to happen” due to immigration policy “under the Biden administration.” Like many right-wing media segments about border security, McKinney and her guest did not note that increased enforcement at the border tends to alter or delay migration instead of stopping it, instead choosing to falsely suggest that Biden’s policy on undocumented immigration means waves of drunk drivers are entering the country.

  • Ball: “People are literally dying for Biden. … You didn’t see this happening under the Trump administration because he took a firm stance on immigration.” Ball’s simplistic rant evaded the fact that, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, migration rates at the southern border are increasing at the expected seasonal rate. Ball also overlooked the fact that Trump accomplished his apparent border security goals by simply making the overcrowded conditions Mexico’s problem -- the “Remain in Mexico” policy, much touted by right-wing media, left over 71,000 migrants exposed to violence and kidnapping in Mexican refugee camps. Part of the current so-called “surge” in immigration is the Biden administration attempting to process the asylum requests Trump effectively denied, even though seeking asylum is an international legal right.

  • War on Christianity

  • McKinney: “Christianity is under attack” after the Atlanta spa murders because “the left” is “trying to blame this horrific tragedy on Judeo-Christian principles.” Upset about arguments highlighting a potential intersectionality of motives for the shooting, allegedly done by a Christian with a “sex addiction”, McKinney lied that one article assigned “blame to conservative Christians rather than to the individual who committed the crimes.” Instead, McKinney claimed that “the true problem” is that “sex in general has so pervaded our culture in such a sick way, … and that we’ve really devalued men in so many ways.”

  • Video file

    Citation From the March 24, 2021, edition of OAN's The Tipping Point 

  • Ball: “We’re the enemy to them, if you’re a straight, white, Christian male conservative.” Ball hosted a right-wing YouTube personality to riff on headlines, a segment which devolved into a pity party for the “country boy with a cowboy hat,” described as a “white, cisgendered male, heterosexual Christian” who became “public enemy No. 1” for the left. At Ball’s suggestion, the YouTuber then joked that he chose to “identify” as “a Black woman running for governor” of Texas.

  • An OAN host blamed feminism on college campuses for placing “societal pressure” on the Catholic Church to approve of same-sex marriage. Alex Salvi, on his former show After Hours, posited that “the societal pressure to accept same-sex marriages made their way to the steps of the Catholic Church” because of “another movement,” mostly on college campuses, “to redefine gender roles … almost completely.” Salvi’s guest from conservative outlet Campus Reform blamed this movement on feminism, particularly “Marxist feminism.”

  • “Cancel culture”

  • Ball defended a veteran from the “cancel culture soccer federation” because he downplayed slavery and police brutality. In a dissent from a U.S. Soccer Federation rule change about kneeling during the national anthem, U.S. Paralympian Seth Jahn falsely claimed there is “relatively zero data to substantiate” narratives of police brutality against people of color, and suggested that the evils of slavery were exaggerated because “only 8% of the entire population even owned slaves” and “whites have been enslaved,” too, among other right-wing media tropes. OAN’s Ball disingenuously whined that Jahn “didn’t bring up race. The fact is he wasn’t racist. The fact is he was being patriotic and somebody got butthurt,” so the “cancel culture soccer federation” came for him.

  • Video file

    Citation From the March 3, 2021, edition of OAN's Real America with Dan Ball

  • OAN joined the ignorant chorus denouncing the “woke mob” cancelation of the “Mr.” in “Mr. Potato Head.” After The Associated Press misreported a Hasbro press release about renaming the “Mr. Potato Head” line of toys to “Potato Head” in late February, right-wing media rose in widespread outrage against a gender-neutral root vegetable toy. Hasbro issued a second announcement stating that Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head would keep their names, a clarification that was also in the second sentence of the original press release. Like its right-wing media competitors, OAN also denounced the “woke mob” (which never existed) for “canceling Mr. Potato Head” (which was not in any sense canceled). Even though there was never anything to the hysterics, OAN programming continued to reference the alleged cancelation of Mr. Potato Head well into March.

  • A since-canceled OAN host said “calls to cancel” Dr. Seuss prevented society from learning “how we got to this point.” On March 5, After Hours host Alex Salvi launched a strange rant against “calls to cancel” Dr. Seuss, and that many people “don’t fear the wrath of cancel culture” as they should. Salvi argued that canceling Dr. Seuss kept people from seeing “mistakes that we’ve made in the past” and how society grew past them. “We need to see the work of how we got to this point, otherwise we leave ourselves open to making the very same mistakes again,” he said. “But we can’t even have that conversation today.” (Salvi left OAN and his show ended on March 19.)

  • Culture war

  • OAN asked Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion to “come up with some better lyrics and maybe put a little bit of clothes on.” In response to the rappers’ “very graphic, disgusting, and appalling” Grammys performance of “WAP,” Hamill complained that “Cardi B is totally out of control,” saying, “She’s not like a good influence for young women.” She and her guest from the conservative Media Research Center were upset that “the left” wanted to cancel Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head (both false), but it was not outraged by the “very pornographic” performance.

  • Video file

    Citation From the March 16, 2021, edition of OAN's In Focus with Stephanie Hamill

  • McKinney: “Many women out of the workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic … could be, actually, a positive shift in our society.” The host cited a pro-homeschooling study to suggest that women losing their jobs during the pandemic could result in their children doing better while they attend school virtually. Her comments made no mention of women who don’t have school-age children or unemployed women whose kids may have returned to in-person learning. McKinney predicted that homeschooling “may become the new normal, and the GOP may be able to take advantage of it” for what she called “pro-family policies.”

  • OAN denounced the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards as “propaganda” for calling Vice President Kamala Harris -- an abortion rights supporter -- a “champion of kids.” Hamill quipped that Harris was actually the “champion of abortion.”

  • McKinney launched a bizarre, disjointed rant against “the destructive messages being pushed by cultural Marxists” onto children. According to McKinney, these “destructive messages” include abortion rights, transgender rights, and discrimination “against certain groups of people like the hated straight, white, Christian male, or against Asians even.” McKinney’s nonsensical rant also appeared to blame internet pornography for “attention deficit disorders,” then insidiously discussed the high rate of trans suicide attempts as though transgender people are naturally inclined to suicide, when those figures are actually a reflection of the intolerance they often face -- such as the OAN host showed in this segment.

  • Video file

    Citation From the February 25, 2021, edition of OAN's The Tipping Point

  • An OAN host was deeply offended by an anonymous Fox News employee who called Kayleigh McEnany “mini-Goebbels.” Salvi claimed that “of course, from a journalistic perspective, it’s unethical to allow someone to compare a former U.S. official to a Nazi without attribution. But it’s evidently permissible to work around those norms when it comes to bashing a former Trump administration official.”