Meet OANN, Another Right-Wing Outlet Shilling For Trump

Meet OANN, Another Right-Wing Outlet Shilling For Trump

››› ››› CHRISTOPHER LEWIS

One America News Network (OANN) drew attention after President-elect Donald Trump took a question from its correspondent at his January 11 press conference. OANN, which was founded in 2013 as a right-wing news network akin to Fox News, shilled for Trump throughout his campaign and recently hired Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as a commentator. The network has a history of race-baiting and presenting anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-abortion reporting.

At His First Press Conference As President-Elect, Trump Took A Question From OANN

Trump Answered A Question From OANN At His First Press Conference Since The Election. President-elect Donald Trump took a question from One America News Network (OANN) correspondent Trey Yingst at his January 11 press conference, his first since the election. From the press conference:

TREY YINGST: Thank you, Mr. Trump. Trey Yingst with One America News. What is your response to your critics that say not only you, but also your cabinet, is filled with conflicts of interest, and do you plan to set an example in the future to make sure that your cabinet and everyone throughout your administration --

DONALD TRUMP: Good question. I really think that when you watch what’s going on with what’s happening in -- I was just watching, as an example, Rex Tillerson. I think it’s brilliant, what he’s doing and what he’s saying. I watched yesterday, as you know, our great senator, who is going to be a great attorney general, and he was brilliant. And what people don’t know is that he was a great prosecutor and attorney general in Alabama, and he was brilliant yesterday. So, I really think that they are -- I think we have one of the great cabinets ever put together.

[...]

So we need people that are smart, we need people that are successful, and they got successful because, generally speaking, they’re smart. And that’s what I’d put -- I’m very proud of the Cabinet, I think they’re doing very well. [YouTube.com, 1/17/17]

OANN Asked Incoming Press Secretary Sean Spicer A Question During The Most Recent Press Briefing. During a January 19 press briefing, Yingst asked Spicer a question regarding the incoming administration’s “message for senators on the Capitol Hill.” [White House Press Briefing, 1/19/17]

OANN Pushed Pro-Trump Messages Throughout The Campaign:

In “Lovefest” Interview, OANN Guest Host Sarah Palin Hyped Trump As An “Avant-Garde” “Fighter” Who Would Deliver “Results.” Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a past vice presidential nominee, guest-hosted OANN’s On Point in August 2015 to interview Trump. Palin prefaced the interview, which a Huffington Post editor described as a “lovefest,” with an opening monologue lauding Trump’s “sacrifice to hit the campaign trail” and his “avant-garde” “movement.” During the interview, Palin asked Trump friendly questions, offering him a platform to speak uninterrupted. From the August 28 edition of On Point:

SARAH PALIN (HOST): I’ve said it since the day he made the sacrifice to hit the campaign trail. Voters crave the anti-status quo politician. They want results. They need a fighter. They need someone to fire all those political correct police. And this is a movement. The Trumpeters, Trumpservatives -- these are what these folks are called. Everything about Donald Trump’s campaign, it’s avant-garde, and he is crushing it in the polls. One America News -- you viewers? He’s talking to you. He wants to connect to those who are going to show up at the polls and elect the leader of the free world.

So Mr. Trump, I had James Carville on yesterday. Remember his “it’s the economy silly?” The turbulent global economy leads to daily volatility here, and that affects the working class, and I know that’s where your heart is in this working class. How is our economy really doing, especially reacting to world markets?

DONALD TRUMP: Well if you really look, Sarah, at the economy, it’s been terrible. We have 93 million people out of work. They look for jobs, they give up, and all of a sudden, statistically, they’re considered employed. Our economy is doing terribly. We’ve lost tremendous amounts of jobs to China, to Japan, to Mexico, and to so many other places, and it’s really very sad when you look at what’s happening. We have taken away -- they’ve just destroyed our job base, and we have to make a lot of improvement.

PALIN: Yeah, and I don’t think we’re getting the truth out of the White House, the true state of the economy, so thanks for setting that straight. [One America News Network, On Point, 8/28/15; The Huffington Post, 8/29/15]

After It Was Reported That Trump Had Mistreated Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, OANN’s Liz Wheeler Claimed Machado Was “Play[ing] The Victim.” After it was widely reported that Trump had fat-shamed and publicly embarrassed former Miss Universe Alicia Machado and called her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping,” host of Tipping Point Liz Wheeler said there were “factual inaccuracies” in her allegations against Trump. Wheeler played a single clip of Trump and Machado as evidence that Trump never mistreated her and said, “I think it’s worse when women play the victim ... in order to get their 15 minutes in the spotlight.” From Tipping Point with Liz Wheeler:

LIZ WHEELER (HOST): Well there are some factual inaccuracies in that ad. So let’s break them down one by one, And let’s start with how Trump talked to [Machado] while she was Miss Universe way back in 1997.

[...]

WHEELER: All right, Meghan, I’m looking forward to hear what you think about this, because I think it’s worse when women play the victim for reward’s sake, when they play the victim in order to get their 15 minutes in the spotlight here. It’s essentially the same as crying wolf. It diminishes the validity, the credibility that real victims have in the eyes of the public when these pretend victims are just doing it for attention. [One America News Network, Tipping Point, 9/30/16]

OANN Criticized “Pundits And Politicians” For Discussing The Access Hollywood Tape And “Refusing To Recognize [Trump’s] Accomplishments” And His Actions “Helping Americans.” After the 2005 Access Hollywood tape of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women was leaked, OANN reported that “politicians, pundits, and celebrities are trying to discredit his presidential run” instead of focusing on his “accomplishments” and how he “has changed many people’s lives for the better.” In the report, news writer and anchor Stephanie Myers purported to showcase “the countless actions showing the Republican nominee helping Americans.” From One America News:

MIKE DINOW (HOST): While many pundits and politicians continue to focus on Donald Trump’s recently leaked tape, many are refusing to recognize Trump’s accomplishments and how he lifted up spirits for those who were struggling. One America’s Stephanie Myers tells us more about how the Republican nominee has changed many people’s lives for the better.

[...]

STEPHANIE MYERS: Now in 2016, politicians, pundits, and celebrities are trying to discredit his presidential run, using a leaked soundbite from an incident in 2005 where he made lewd comments about women. Since then, he’s apologized, regretting the comments. Still, they fail to discuss the countless number of actions showing the Republican nominee helping Americans. [YouTube.com, 10/13/16]

OANN’s Vania Beltran Attacked Megyn Kelly For Reporting On Sexual Assault Allegations Against Trump, Saying Kelly “Is No Stranger To Using Sex Appeal To Her Advantage.” OANN news producer Vania Beltran attacked Fox host Megyn Kelly for discussing sexual assault allegations against Trump, claiming she was “making headlines again instead of just reporting them” and that Kelly “hasn’t been shy about sexuality in the past.” Beltran added that Kelly “is no stranger to using her sex appeal to her advantage.” From One America News: 

VANIA BELTRAN: Megyn Kelly is making headlines again instead of just reporting them, with more disparaging comments about Donald Trump. Now the latest incident is sparking controversy about the anchor, who hasn’t been shy about sexuality in the past.

[...]

And this is not the first time Kelly has gone after Trump. Back in August 2015, while moderating the first Republican presidential debate, the Fox News anchor opted out of asking Trump questions about his policies and instead focused on aspects of his personal life.

[...]

Kelly is no stranger to using her sex appeal to her advantage. In a 2014 article written by Fox News political analyst Brit Hume, he admitted part of the reason why he passed on her audition tape to then-CEO Roger Ailes was because of Kelly’s looks. [YouTube.com, 10/27/16]

OANN Hired Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski As A Political Commentator. The Daily Beast reported that OANN hired “thuggish Trump confidant” and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as a political commentator. In an interview with The Daily Beast, OANN CEO Robert Herring confirmed the hire, saying, “‘We got a lot of help from [Corey] in the past, and he seems like a very nice guy and very knowledgeable.’” Herring also said Lewandowski “‘help[ed] us with getting interviews’” with Trump. As The Daily Beast noted, Lewandowski, who has set up a “new pro-Trump consulting firm,” was fired from the Trump campaign after he “bruised a female political reporter, lied about it, [and] got fired.” From the January 12 article:

“He’s working for us like he worked for CNN,” Robert Herring, the CEO at One America News Network (who once offered the husband of Terri Schiavo a cool $1 million to give up the guardian rights of his brain-damaged wife over to her parents), told The Daily Beast in a brief phone interview on Thursday. “It started last week, but not exactly sure of the date.”

[...]

“We got a lot of help from [Corey] in the past, and he seems like very nice guy and very knowledgeable,” Herring continued. “You know, we're a growing network, and we saw a chance when he quit CNN and we just grabbed it.”

The One America CEO explained that “whenever we had some dealing when we needed help with Trump,” for instance when “he helping us with getting interviews,” Lewandowski consistently came through for them.

[...]

Now, the fledgling conservative-commentary network has Lewandowski, another famous Trump-loving propagandist, to add to its ranks. He’ll be lending his perspective to OANN when he’s not busy working at his new pro-Trump consulting firm set up just a few steps away from a Trump White House. [The Daily Beast, 1/12/17]

OANN Was Founded As A Right-Wing Outlet

OANN Was Founded As A Right-Wing News Channel. Herring Broadcasting President Charles Herring announced the launch of OANN at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), describing it as a source of “‘reliable, credible, fact-based news with substance’” and “‘a platform where more voices can be heard, voices that are ignored, libertarian and conservative voices.’” Herring added that he wanted the network to run in addition to Fox News, saying, “‘There just isn’t enough time in the day to have’” a broad range of conservative “‘voices heard [on Fox]. I see us as opening up another front, another platform.’” From a March 4, 2013, Daily Beast article: 

One America News Network, on the other hand, has a two-tier mission: providing opinion-free straight news reporting and right-leaning talk shows.

“It is getting really hard to find just the reliable, credible, fact-based news with substance,” said Charles Herring, president of Herring Broadcasting, in an interview from CPAC, where he was setting up for the announcement. “The second component is to provide a platform where more voices can be heard, voices that are ignored, libertarian and conservative voices.”

[...]

“Fox is a great platform,” he said. “A lot of people like it, it gets outstanding ratings. There is nothing wrong with Fox. The problem is that if you take the channel lineup, the sources of national news tend to lean to the left…and all we have is Fox.”

Herring said his network also would provide a platform for a broader spectrum of voices on the right than Fox now offers.

“With only one outlet, if you happen to be an independent or a libertarian, or you are on the outside, you only have one platform right now, which is Fox,” he said. “There just isn’t enough time in the day to have those voices heard. I see us as opening up another front, another platform.” [The Daily Beast, 3/14/13]

OANN Has A History Of Race-Baiting, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim, And Anti-Abortion Reporting

OANN Host Liz Wheeler: “Is It Fair To Separate The Black Lives Movement From The Motivation Of These Cop Killers?” OANN’s Tipping Point host Liz Wheeler responded to the murders of five police officers in Dallasby claiming the Black Lives Matter movement was "partially responsible" for the killers, which she suggested wants “to kill cops because they’re white” and “be above the law because of your skin color.” From Tipping Point with Liz Wheeler:

LIZ WHEELER (HOST): What is it the Black Lives Matter movement wants? I’m serious, what does the movement want? Do you want more black cops? Do you want more white criminals shot? Do you want the police to stop engaging criminals altogether? Or do you just want police to look the other way if the person committing the crime has black skin? Here’s the thing, it’s a false question to trap the movement because they can’t answer it, and that means they’re a farce.

[...]

Is it fair to separate the Black Lives Matter movement from the motivation of these cop killers? Eleven police officers were shot. Some were shot in the back execution-style. Five police officers died.

Thousands of other police officers put on their uniforms yesterday and today, willing to give their lives to protect their brothers and sisters in arms to keep our communities safe. They are not looking at skin color. But the Black Lives Matter movement is. To paint yourself as a victim, cast yourself as the oppressed, castigate white people and police as the oppressor, that makes you partially responsible. Yes it does. The Black Lives Matter movement speaks not for race, but for racial divide; not for hope, but for oppression; not for justice, but for revenge; not for freedom, but for fear; not for lives, but for lies.

Is that what you want? To be placed on a pedestal above the rest? To kill cops because they’re white? You want to be above the law because of your skin color? Well, you ought to talk to Hillary Clinton about that one. [One America News Network, Tipping Point with Liz Wheeler, 7/8/16]

Liz Wheeler Blamed Black Lives Matter For Police “Dying At The Hands Of Angry Mobs And Black Nationalists Who Are Fueled By The Lies That Cops Are The Enemy.” Wheeler devoted a segment to violence in Chicago and the conservative black-on-black crime canard, blaming the Black Lives Matter movement for violence against police officers and suggesting it doesn’t care about black people dying. Wheeler misrepresented a Harvard study to support her argument, concluding that the Black Lives Matter movement incites not only riots but also “angry mobs and black nationalists” that kill police officers. From Tipping Point with Liz Wheeler:

LIZ WHEELER (HOST): Let’s talk about some facts. In Chicago in 2015, 80 percent of known murder suspects were black. Likewise, 80 percent of known non-fatal shooting suspects were black. Yet black people in Chicago make up less than one-third of the overall population. Why isn’t the Black Lives Matter movement talking about that? And don’t try to tell me it’s a disparity based off of policing. These statistics are not about traffic stops or misdemeanors or even non-lethal use of force. The Black Lives Matter movement’s very clear about the reasons for their riots. They claim cops shoot black people. Well, these statistics meet the movement at their argument. So let’s keep going.

[...]

And that brings us to the last fact, the most tragic of all: the result of this noxious, toxic narrative spewed by the Black Lives Matter movement is not a conversation. Nobody’s talking here, or else we’d be talking about these facts and the study by Harvard professor Roland Fryer, a young black man himself, that uses data from police departments all across America to prove that cops are more likely to shoot a suspect who is white, not black. What we aren’t talking about are the people who are dying because of this false narrative. Dying because of the lies. The people officers who protect justice and order in our neighborhoods who are dying at the hands of angry mobs and black nationalists who are fueled by the lies that cops are the enemy. [One America News Network, Tipping Point with Liz Wheeler, 9/13/16; Media Matters, 9/3/15, 7/12/16, 10/25/16]

OANN Released A “Speculative, ‘What-If’” Promo Video Of A 911 Dispatcher Refusing To Send Police To Respond To A Burglary Without Knowing The Race Of The Burglar. OANN released a “promo” video depicting a man calling 911 to respond to a burglary at his home. The dispatcher responds to his call by asking about the burglar’s race, saying she “cannot send white officers out there if the perpetrators breaking into your home are non-caucasian.” The video concludes with the caller being beaten by a shadowy figure. [One America News Network, 1/2/15]

While Hosting OANN’s On Point, Sarah Palin Promoted Deceptively Edited Videos From The Center For Medical Progress To Smear Planned Parenthood. OANN guest host Sarah Palin hyped deceptively edited videos from the anti-abortion activist group the Center for Medical Progress in an attack on Planned Parenthood. In an interview with Penny Nance, the president for Concerned Women for America, Palin added, as evidence that Planned Parenthood should be defunded and investigated, that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger “didn’t like blacks. She didn’t like Jews. She wanted a cleaner -- a whiter race.” She went on to claim that Sanger was pro-abortion because she “wanted to get rid of all of the undesirables.” From On Point:

SARAH PALIN (HOST): Well, and you know I was surprised, although I shouldn’t be surprised, at the lack of coverage this outrage by the majority of Americans, and they are participating in these protests. Now with mainstream media though putting their time and effort in covering things like Black Lives Matters, that movement. Isn’t it shocking that they won’t cover the black lives taken by abortion? It’s predominately, as you suggest, minority babies, their lives being snuffed out.

PENNY NANCE: That’s right. ou mentioned the fact that Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist. She led that movement and that tradition continues today. In New York City alone, more African-American babies were aborted then were born in this past year and they are primarily, Planned Parenthood, is primarily in minority communities because they want to target minority babies and minority children. Yes but you're right, the mainstream media coverage has been AWOL on this.

[...]

PALIN: Yeah, that is a great point and let me go back really quickly to what you’re suggesting there. With -- it’s not a suggestion, it’s a fact, the foundation of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, and what she represented. She was open about it. She didn’t like blacks. She didn’t like Jews. She wanted a cleaner -- a whiter race. And that is why she was so pro-abortion. She wanted to get rid of the undesirables. Sounds like Hitler. Now, for anyone to praise that time of foundation just absolutely blows me away. [One America News Network, On Point, 8/25/15; Media Matters, 8/31/15]

Liz Wheeler Scandalized Late-Term Abortions, Comparing Them To “Taking An Entire Kindergarten Class And Wiping Them Out Every Single Day.” Wheeler reacted to a segment by TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee in which Bee explained that late-term abortion is rare and that “partial-birth abortions aren’t a thing” by claiming that the number of those types of abortions are “seven times the number of students at Harvard Law School” and that it’s “like taking an entire kindergarten class and wiping them out every single day.” From Tipping Point with Liz Wheeler:

LIZ WHEELER (HOST): Well I hate to burst her bubble but Samantha Bee is either willfully misinformed or willfully ignorant. Either way, she’s patently wrong. Partial birth abortion was banned by President [George W.] Bush in 2003. It’s not a thing, Samantha says. This defensive declaration ironically coming from the party that dubbed semi-automatic rifles as assault weapons, who so arrogantly believe their own actions contribute solely to climate change and who riot over the political lie that police officers purposely target young black men. But let’s not get off track here with fictitious falsehoods peddled by progressive politicians, shall well? That could take all day.

[...]

Samantha’s right. Only 1.3 percent of all abortions in the United States are late term abortions. Now let’s present that a little more honestly. There are 1 million abortions committed in the United States every year. 1.3 percent of the 1 million is 13,000 late-term abortions every year. 13,000. That’s seven times the number of students at Harvard Law School. 1,181 soccer teams. It averages out to 35 late term abortions everyday. That’s like taking an entire kindergarten class and wiping them out every single day.

[...]

Let’s read between the lines here. What Hillary Clinton and Samatha Bee are saying without saying is, “Moms, if your son has down syndrome, his life is worth less. You best get it over with now so you can get on with your life unhampered.” What kind of message is that? Is that liberal tolerance? [One America News Network, Tipping Point, 10/25/16]

OANN’s Graham Ledger: “Mosques Are Breeding Grounds For The Jihadists In This Country.” In the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack, OANN host Graham Ledger, in a segment called “The Muslimization of America,” attacked President Obama’s call for people not to discriminate against Muslims as an “assault” that was “coming from our federal government.” Ledger later added that “mosques are breeding grounds for the Jihadists in this country.” From The Daily Ledger:

GRAHAM LEDGER (HOST): Now page four, the Muslimization of America, our Judeo-Christian values in this country are under attack. And part of this assault is coming from our federal government. Team Obama has become so pro-Muslim that it is now threatening businesses with lawsuits if they so much as think of denying a Muslim his prayer rug or whatever at work. No kidding. There’s a new warning from the Obama administration post-San Bernardino terrorist attack. The warning is not to look out for radical Islamists. It’s not aimed at terrorists, no. The warning is for you and me. Don’t discriminate against Muslims or else.

[...]

There’s a problem here, lady. And the problem exists in the Muslim community in this country. It’s nothing that I can do as a Christian. I don’t go into mosques, but we know that mosques are breeding grounds for the jihadists in this country. So what in the wide world of sports am I going to do? It is your problem and you need to fix it. [One America News Network, The Daily Ledger, 1/8/16]

Tomi Lahren: “Radical Islam Is Becoming The Rule, Not The Exception. Yesterday’s Moderate Is Today’s Terrorist.”After the July 16, 2015, shootings at a U.S. military recruitment and reserve center in Chattanooga, TN, then-OANN host Tomi Lahren asserted that “yesterday’s moderate [Muslim] is today’s terrorist.” From On Point:

TOMI LAHREN (HOST): I’m sorry but radical Islam is becoming the rule, not the exception. Yesterday’s moderate is today’s terrorist. I care that this S.O.B. killed four of our United States Marines, and I care that our commander-in-chief is more concerned with Muslim sensitivity than the honor and sacrifice made by these marines. [One America News Network, On Point, 7/22/15]

Ledger: “Barack Obama Is A Compulsive, Sociopathic Liar,” And Undocumented Immigrants Are “Unskilled And Uneducated” And “In Some Cases They’re Evil.” OANN host Graham Ledger in November 2014 attacked President Obama for his executive actions on immigration, claiming Obama is a “sociopathic liar” who “lies to manipulate” and “harbors some kind of deep resentment for this country.” Ledger also attacked undocumented immigrants, calling them overall “unskilled and uneducated” and “in some cases … evil.” From The Daily Ledger:

GRAHAM LEDGER (HOST): So therein lies the problem. Who are these people who broke into our country illegally. Answer? We have no way of knowing. Are they the best and the brightest? No. Overall, they’re unskilled and uneducated . And in some cases they’re evil. There is nothing good about executive blanket amnesty. It’s not good for this country, and it’s obviously not good for our rule of law. And you know what? The president knows all of this. He know’s what he’s doing is illegal.

[...]

“It is not the way our system works.” So November 20th, 2014, is a day that will live in infamy in this country because of what Barack Obama did. So it is my true belief that Barack Obama is a compulsive, sociopathic liar. He lies in order to manipulate. Obama is narcissistic, clearly, and he harbors some kind of resentment for this country. Why else would he want to fundamentally transform it? The unilateral dismantling of our immigration law and defiling our Constitution are just two more ways for Obama to disrespect and deconstruct the country that he obviously despises so much. [One America News Network, The Daily Ledger, 11/23/14]

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