During the April 6 episode of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver took on the One America News Network and highlighted the network’s shilling for President Donald Trump and why the propaganda it spews is so dangerous.
Oliver noted that during recent press conferences, Trump has seemingly enjoyed calling on OAN, and he played several clips of the network’s chief White House correspondent Chanel Rion asking Trump softball, sometimes ridiculous, questions. In one clip, Rion seems to reference criticism against Trump calling the novel coronavirus the “Chinese virus” by asking the president if it’s racist to use the term “‘Chinese food’ because it is food that originates in China.”
“It’s moments like that that explain why Trump has such a love affair with OAN,” Oliver said.
Oliver also pinpointed the network’s other hosts also engage in propaganda and far-right rhetoric, noting that OAN’s Graham Ledger, host of The Daily Ledger, “called Black Lives Matter ‘a criminal organization,’ has called being transgender ‘a mental problem,’ and said of people coming to the U.S. from majority-Muslim countries, ‘If they won’t take a bite out of a pulled-pork sandwich, we probably won’t let them in the country.’”
“The network has actively given airtime to conspiracy theories,” Oliver said, noting that OAN once offered a $100,000 reward for information on the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich and filmed a multipart special with Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine as he took on “investigations” there into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
More recently, the host added, “Rion hosted a special in which she boosted a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus might have originated as a bioweapon in a North Carolina laboratory.”
“The whole selling point for OAN is that they are Fox News with even less shame and even fewer scruples,” Oliver said.
OAN’s “love affair” with Trump doesn’t end there, Oliver added, noting the incident last week when the White House Correspondents’ Association revoked Rion’s access to the White House briefing room. “The reason they did this,” Oliver said, “was because most reporters had agreed to take turns attending to keep the room emptier and follow social distancing rules. But Chanel Rion repeatedly showed up on days that she wasn’t assigned a seat.” But the day after WHCA revoked Rion’s access, she was back in the room bragging that press secretary Stephanie Grisham had personally invited her as a guest.
“OAN’s weird combination of far-right-wing talking points and dirt stupid reporting is incredibly dangerous at a time like this,” Oliver said, later adding, “The kind of misinformation OAN is spewing right now could end up getting people killed,” Oliver said, “and sadly, their message is being actively spread by the White House.”