OAN CEO praises Tucker Carlson’s “real news” as he pitches the network to Charter

In an interview, Robert Herring told viewers “we’re having some fun” with a $1.6 billion defamation suit, and rallied support for Elon Musk “because he’s going to be sued a lot, too”

Robert Herring and Tucker Carlson

Citation Andrea Austria / Media Matters

One America News Network recently interviewed its founder and owner, Robert Herring, wherein he made desperate plays to ideologically link OAN to popular conservative figures and goad the audience into contacting cable providers to pick up the network.

Herring’s interview -- which has aired at least seven times as of Friday morning -- covered a wide variety of topics. In addition to a weak promotion for the new streaming service “OAN Live,” Herring:

  • Claimed to have advised former president Donald Trump on how to “get out” of Ukraine
  • Repeatedly defended OAN’s election conspiracy theories
  • Defended OAN’s promotion of ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment
  • Shrugged off Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit
  • Praised Fox host Tucker Carlson for “putting out real news” like OAN
  • Pledged support for Tesla CEO Elon Musk because “he’s trying to tell the truth”

Although it was nearly an afterthought, it’s also notable that Herring specifically asked viewers to “call Charter” and ask it to carry OAN. Ever since DirecTV dropped OAN, which reportedly previously supplied 90% of its revenue, OAN has been desperate to make up those losses. Herring’s on-air mention of Charter, even if he had to be reminded of it by interviewer Pearson Sharp, suggests an intensification of these efforts -- although there is still no conceivable reason for any TV provider to pick up this ongoing liability and its loser stink.

Herring claims to have advised Trump on Ukraine

Herring told viewers that he “talked to a gentleman named President Trump at one point” and asked him to help the United States “get out” of the war in Ukraine, “and he answered yes. … He had some ideas about it that I thought would be pretty good.” 

Herring blamed the Russian invasion on the expansion of NATO, and added that “Biden is doing that to get a war. … And I think if we don’t stop at some place, it’s going to be a nuclear war” between the U.S. and Russia. “We need to actually get out right now,” Herring pleaded, “we need to settle it down somehow.” Referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Herring added, “and I think maybe Trump talking to him would work.”

Video file

Citation From May 11, 2022, programming on One America News Network

Herring defends election conspiracy theories and ivermectin

“I personally feel that he was cheated,” Herring declared of Trump’s 2020 loss, “and we’re getting news every day that’s starting to prove that,” which is still not true. Herring compared criticism of his network’s election lies to people who say that ivermectin is “just for a horse. … But it wasn’t for a horse, and it saved a lot of people, and it will continue saving a lot of people.” 

“They just have to listen to us,” Sharp cried, “and, you know, when they try to cover this up and censor our news, I mean, they are literally killing people by covering up that lifesaving information.” The information in question is not, in fact, lifesaving. 

Video file

Citation From May 11, 2022, programming on One America News Network

Herring praises Tucker Carlson, says “we’re having some fun” being sued for $1.6 billion

In an apparent attempt to associate OAN with the popular prime-time white supremacist, Herring said that “Tucker Carlson seems to be the one that's putting out real news. I know One America is, and I’m very proud of it. But there’s a lot of different companies that don’t want to say anything about what’s really going on.”

Although he acknowledged that a lawsuit from “some people” -- Dominion Voting Systems -- could cost the network “some real money, like $1.6 billion or something, it’s something I can’t even think of,” Herring predicted that “eventually we’ll be the ones that will win, if we stay with giving it just the real news.” He even said that “we’re having some fun” in the legal crosshairs, but other targets of 2020-related lawsuits “are kind of being quiet. And we’re not going to do that … We go to jail if it’s wrong, but we’re going to fight it all the way.”

“Even if you back down and you apologize -- like Fox News did, like Newsmax did -- they still come after you and sue you,” Sharp replied, “so you may as well keep pushing the truth.” However, OAN did recently “back down” from one of its many election fraud claims, almost certainly due to mounting legal pressure.

Video file

Citation From May 11, 2022, programming on One America News Network

Herring says “we’re not backing down,” rallies support for Elon Musk

Herring told viewers that they shouldn’t be worried about legal action that could bankrupt OAN, “because what we did is right, and sooner or later that’s going to come up. … We’re not backing down where it seems everybody else has. And I think -- I don’t really know why they do that.”

“I think we know why,” Sharp responded. “They’re controlling the narrative top to bottom, and they’re coming after us because we’re not part of it. We’re not playing ball.”

“That's why we really have to watch out for Elon right now. He’s trying to tell the truth, he’s doing things that have never been done before. I mean you hear them coming up with Twitter and all this stuff and trying to straighten it out. But he’s going to be sued a lot too, and we’re going to have to get behind him and help him too. … He’s quite a guy, and we’ll support him as much as we can.”

Video file

Citation From May 11, 2022, programming on One America News Network

Whatever the future may hold for OAN, it’s clear that Herring is not concerned about negative consequences for the network’s lies. Despite more than $1 billion in legal threats, two top employees’ resignations, and OAN’s ongoing struggle to replace the revenue and reach it lost with DirecTV, the CEO put it plainly: “We’re not afraid of them. I’m 80 years old, they can’t do too much too much longer. So, we’ll have some fun.”