One America News Network has had a whirlwind week centered around its lies about the 2020 election. From August 10-12, OAN dumped almost 31 hours of its own programming in favor of airing live an embarrassing three-day “cyber symposium” by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, falsely purporting to prove that China stole the election. Hours before the network started airing the event, it was reported that Dominion Voting Systems is suing OAN for defamation over the channel’s conspiracy theories about the election being stolen.
Since these developments, OAN has only gone further down the rabbit hole.
On August 16, viewers expecting to see OAN Evening News were instead shown a two-hour “special report from Lindell TV,” which featured rambling rants from the pillow salesman about his many grievances as he was interviewed by one of his sycophants. Lindell pleaded for Fox News to “step it up and help save our country” by spreading his conspiracy theories. He called on its prime-time lineup, particularly “Jam Bogino” (Dan Bongino, who is not a regular weekday prime-time host), to share his “100% proof [of] what Dominion’s done” as the “absolute heroes” at OAN have done. Lindell also accused a Salon reporter of being an antifa agent trying to “take down my credibility and to finally get rid of Mike Lindell.”
Lindell also repeated his false allegation that Dominion and Smartmatic (another plaintiff in several defamation suits) “were criminals” helping the Chinese government steal the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump. He pleaded for attorneys general to seize the voting machines and “pull down those packet captures out of those routers” to find the proof. Lindell again claimed that the judge in his defamation case “was compromised” by Dominion or its co-conspirators.
Lindell accused Dominion of potentially being behind a man who aggressively poked him at his symposium in South Dakota, saying this was “one of the most scariest men and scariest things that I’ve ever had to go through there, because I knew it was for keeps.” “These guys will stop at nothing,” he warned of Dominion.
On August 17, OAN again preempted its evening news and delayed its prime-time lineup for two hours of live coverage of an “audit the vote” rally in the home district of Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano, an OAN ally in spreading election lies. Pennsylvania State Rep. Dawn Keefer’s mention of Dominion drew boos from the crowd.
Beyond OAN’s growing habit of delaying its own programming for live nonsense, the network has also had its own on-air talent push the same or complementary lies about the 2020 election.
- Prime-time host Natalie Harp opened her August 12 show with a false declaration that a powerpoint from Lindell’s cyber symposium showed “historical evidence which points to a historic victory for President Trump [on] November 3." Harp later played different portions of the powerpoint presentation as a retort to Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s (R-TX) denial that the election was stolen.
- On August 16, Harp hosted Washington State Republican Rep. Robert Sutherland to discuss an “election integrity hearing” and asked him if he thought President Joe Biden won a bellwether county in the state with “vote by mail fraud.”
- On August 17, an OAN news hour promoted a Georgia lieutenant governor candidate’s campaign ad mocking Democratic reactions to right-wing lies about the 2020 election. In the OAN anchor’s words, the ad asked “why the left reacts this way if there was truly no fraud.”