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Andrea Austin / Media Matters

Research/Study Research/Study

Republican members of Congress have appeared on OAN prime time more than 900 times since the 2020 election

  • From the 2020 election through the network's final day hosted by a major cable television provider, far-right conspiracy theory channel One America News’ prime-time programs interviewed 84 sitting members of Congress, for a total of 938 interviews.

    On a channel known for noxious and deranged coverage, OAN prime time stands out as a uniquely bizarre hub of white nationalism, deadly disinformation, lies, violence, and gut-churning bigotry. Every weeknight, hosts ask an assortment of nuts, extremists, conspiracy theorists, and election denialists about “cancel culture,” Marxists ruining America, Elmo “grooming” your kids, the COVID-19 vaccine making their arm magnetic, and the reasons secession might be good, actually. 

    The MAGA-obsessed network has faced legal scrutiny, and multiple billion-dollar lawsuits, since the 2020 election for its unending, network-wide assault on American democracy – including OAN’s shady connections to efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Verizon, OAN’s last major cable provider, dropped the network on July 30 – effectively dealing a deathblow to the far-right propaganda outlet. 

    From November 3, 2020, through July 29, 2022, OAN prime time had 938 interviews with 84 Republican members of Congress from 28 states -- all of whom were serving as elected officials at the time of their interviews. Of the 84 individual members interviewed by OAN, 81 of them were House representatives, while just 3 were senators -- Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Congress members from Texas (177 appearances), Florida (154), Arizona (117), Georgia (107), and South Carolina (83) appeared most frequently.

    Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) was the most frequent congressional guest on OAN prime time with 82 appearances, followed by Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) with 72 appearances and Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) with 64 appearances. Here are the most frequent members of Congress who appeared on OAN from the 2020 election through OAN’s last day on a major cable carrier:

  • Top congressional guests on OAN prime time. Top five guests are Reps.  Andy Biggs, Ralph Norman, Grege Steube, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Matt Gaetz.
  • On average, OAN prime time aired roughly 45 interviews with members of Congress each month. Interviews peaked in March 2021 at 67 interviews, just two months after the network spread countless conspiracy theories and lies about the insurrection. In Focus and Real America interviewed the most members of Congress – respectively airing 362 interviews with 42 members of Congress and 298 interviews with 51 members of Congress. The Real Story, which was canceled in May, aired 125 interviews with 36 members of Congress while Tipping Point had 107 interviews with 21 members of Congress.

  • Prime-time congressional interviews legitimized OAN’s election lies and extremist talking points

  • Leading up to the Capitol insurrection, lawmakers openly discussed efforts to overturn the 2020 election with OAN prime-time hosts. After the Capitol attack, OAN used lawmaker interviews to push conspiracy theories about U.S. elections and put a spin on the insurrection

  • Video file

    Citation From the January 4, 2021, edition of OAN's After Hours with Alex Salvi

  • They also legitimized OAN’s increasingly extreme rhetoric joining OAN prime-time hosts for segments about shooting unhoused people, shielding children from the LGBTQ community, and locking up members of the Biden administration for treason. Recently, a representative even entertained a “personal request” from host Dan Ball to investigate why the Pentagon won’t let OAN film on military bases. (The Pentagon’s response, according to Ball: “One America News is not a credible news organization.”)

    OAN prime-time interviews also served as a platform for GOP elected officials to run cover during career-threatening scandals. Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-NC) interviews on the network peaked in early 2021, around the time of BuzzFeed News' investigation into allegations Cawthorn harassed women in college and The Washington Post's expose revealing multiple falsehoods about his background and personal life. Prime-time OAN programs also hosted Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) throughout his sex trafficking scandal, even as Fox News temporarily blacklisted Gaetz following an awkward Tucker Carlson Tonight interview on March 30, 2021. 

  • Methodology

  • Media Matters reviewed video from the SnapStream and Grabien databases for all original episodes of OAN’s In Focus, Real America, Tipping Point, After Hours, and The Real Story for congressional guest appearances from November 3, 2020, through July 29, 2022.

    We also reviewed internal documents generated from live monitoring of the aforementioned OAN shows, iHeartRadio podcast guest lists, OAN Rumble videos, and YouTube video uploads to cross-check congressional appearances. Finally, we searched Twitter for any of the handles @DanNewsManBall, @nefertari_25, @AlexSalviNews, or @STEPHMHAMILL with any of the terms “tune in,” “guest,” “guests,” “tonight,” “join,” or “show” as a final check.

    We defined congressional guest appearances as any sitting members of Congress actively serving in the 116th or 117th Congress at the time of their interviews. We manually cross-checked interview dates with congressional tenure as reported by Ballotpedia.

    We included new appearances only; we did not include appearances in prerecorded interviews unless that was the interviews’ first airing. We also did not count a guest more than once if the person appeared in more than one segment in the same episode.

    The Real Story replaced After Hours on March 22, 2021. OAN subsequently canceled The Real Story on May 26, 2022. We did not weigh these programming changes.