One America News Network (OANN) has gone scorched earth in its efforts to elect Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race. The network, which President Donald Trump apparently watches and has praised, has used a combination of desperate and bizarre segments to raise support for Moore, despite several women saying Moore made sexual advances toward them while they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Given the network’s outlandish history that includes racism and a penchant for pushing conspiracy theories, its support for Moore may not be surprising, but the tactics it uses are nonetheless ridiculous.
1. Creating a confusing web of ties to “the underground world of illicit drugs” to discredit Moore’s accusers and the media
OANN made a desperate attempt to link Faye Gary, a former Alabama cop who said she had to keep Moore from harassing cheerleaders at sporting events in the 1980s, to “the underground world of the illicit drug business,” because her sons were arrested for distributing drugs. Sharp also claimed that Moore prosecuted Gary’s brothers for drug crimes, which is why Gary “has a personal ax to grind with Roy Moore.” Sharp also insinuated that Moore made a “powerful enemy” when he convicted Richard Hagerdon for drug dealing, because his brother, David Hagerdon, worked for The Washington Post. Though Sharp admitted that “it’s not clear what the connection could be between Hagerdon and the publication of sexual allegations,” he nevertheless speculated that the “coincidence” still “throws the entire case into question.” Moore even promoted the segment on Twitter.
From the November 29 edition of One America News:
2. Calling on Sean Hannity to apologize “for not standing by the judge”
OANN lashed out at Fox’s Sean Hannity after the host gave Moore an ultimatum to “get out of this race” if he couldn’t refute the allegations. The network said it believes “Sean Hannity owes Moore an apology for not standing by the judge,” despite the fact that Hannity eventually backed off from his original demand.
From the November 26 edition of One America News:
3. Playing Moore’s campaign ad in full and calling his opponent a “fascist”
On The Daily Ledger, OANN played one of Moore’s campaign ads -- that called the allegations against the former judge “false” -- at the start of a segment about Moore and the Alabama special election. Host Graham Ledger then attacked Moore’s opponent, Doug Jones, by calling him a “real fascist left radical,” despite the fact that Jones helped convict members of the Ku Klux Klan. Ledger also falsely claimed that Jones wants “abortion on demand and up until birth” and that “from a constitutional perspective, Jones cannot be allowed to win.” Additionally, Ledger suggested that the reports about Moore’s misconduct were a “conspiracy to deny Moore a seat in the United States Senate.”
From the November 28 edition of One America News Network’s The Daily Ledger:
4. Hyping the “violent past” of one of Moore’s accusers
In yet another attempt to sow doubt about one of Moore’s accusers, OANN hyped a report from Breitbart which claimed that one of Moore’s accusers, Tina Johnson, has a “‘violent nature’” and a “history of criminal fraud” against her family. OANN reported that “as time goes by, many are uncovering the skeletons” in the accusers’ past, “raising questions about their potential motives.” OANN also asserted that Johnson’s claims could be “revenge from when Moore represented her mother in the custody battle” over Johnson’s child.
From the November 27 edition of One America News:
5. Citing handwriting and body language “experts” to discredit one of Moore’s accusers
One of OANN’s earliest attempts to defend Moore was on November 14 when the network tried to cast doubt over Beverly Nelson, a woman who said Moore sexually assaulted her in 1977. OANN suggested that a note Moore wrote in Nelson’s yearbook might be “fake,” citing discredited figure Thomas Wictor. OANN also claimed that “body language experts are also speculating about the authenticity of Nelson's claims” after her appearance at a news conference.
From the November 14 edition of One America News:
6. Airing a mini-documentary about Moore
OANN also aired a bizarre 13-minute mini-documentary about Moore. Before the clip began, the anchor suggested that “without ever having had a trial, Moore has been convicted by the jury of public opinion and whether or not he’s guilty doesn’t really seem to matter to the media or mainstream politicians.” The documentary began with a short section that presented some of Moore’s most stalwart supporters in an attempt to create an image of a person who “repeatedly fought the establishment over various issues, always to uphold his beliefs.” The documentary also claimed that many of the allegations “were based on nothing more than hearsay and rumors.” At the end, the documentary stated, “if the only evidence required is unproven hearsay without any verifiable proof, then the support of the thousands of people coming out with stories of Roy Moore's sterling character must surely outweigh the evidence against him.”
From the November 26 edition of One America News: