The 2020 presidential election was 693 days ago, and One America News Network is still a major hub for both denying the reality of 2020 and projecting conspiracy theories onto future elections.
Since June, OAN’s election fraud coverage has continued to hinge on hosts’ and guests’ repeated denials of the fairness of the 2020 election. It has included everything from claims that the ballot counts were tampered with to continued promotion of Dinesh D'Souza's ridiculous 2000 Mules documentary. And despite an ongoing $1.6 billion defamation suit, OAN has even proclaimed that “we were right” about Dominion Voting Systems.
With the stolen election as bedrock, OAN is looking grimly toward the future, with paranoid warnings that the Democrats will now use TikTok, postal unions, and their October surprise — “the next COVID election variant” — to cheat in the midterms and beyond. All this as the supposedly “Stalinesque” FBI runs interference for President Joe Biden’s political goals with actions like seizing MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s cell phone.
OAN’s stolen election cinematic universe remains as rich with misinformation as ever, and they're hoping their viewers get involved. As Steve Bannon put it during an appearance on the network, “It’s all about … whether this audience, whether this audience turns out and brings people with it, and becomes poll workers, election judges, election officials, and also force multipliers to get everybody to the polls.”
OAN is still denying the 2020 election
The late astronomer Carl Sagan said, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” Similarly, OAN’s entire library of election fraud-related content cannot exist without the invention of the stolen 2020 election. Although it occurred nearly two years ago, the network maintains a steady churn of weak theories and paranoid concerns about the 2020 election.
- OAN correspondent Pearson Sharp reported that “there’s been no end to evidence pointing to massive and widespread voting fraud” won the 2020 election for Biden. Upon rediscovering old evidence of concerns about voting machine security, Sharp declared that “we were right” about Dominion Voting Systems. [OAN, 9/21/22]
- In an OAN interview, Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) praised Dinesh D’Souza’s 2000 Mules and said the discredited movie’s findings merit investigation: “It sure seemed suspicious to me. And I think it’s important for election integrity, so we know if there are any loopholes, gaps in our election integrity system so we can fix them.” [OAN, 9/13/22; The Washington Post, 5/17/22]
- Tipping Point hosted discredited gun researcher John Lott to suggest that sloppy record-keeping by populous counties was covering up 2020 election fraud. Lott claimed that, in Cobb County, GA, “there was a difference of about 34,000 votes between the number of ballots cast and number of voters who voted. That's bigger -- that’s three times, more than three times Biden's winning margin in the state just from that one county.” [OAN, Tipping Point, 9/8/22; MMFA, 9/18/19]
- OAN covered alleged new “voter irregularities” in the 2020 election in New Jersey -- a state Biden won by over 15 points -- including claims of people born between 1800 and 1899 voting, as well as people under 18 voting, and tens of thousands of people voting more than once. There was no actual proof that these illegal votes happened, and no acknowledgement of other potential explanations. [OAN, 7/28/22; 270toWin, 12/13/20]
- With The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland, Tipping Point host Kara McKinney whined about the January 6 committee ignoring “verified evidence” of broken election laws that, McKinney and Cleveland suggested, could support Trump’s election fraud lies and inspire sympathy for January 6 insurrectionists. Cleveland added that “systematic” and “widespread” 2020 problems like these, and that few of them were resolved, “are the reasons that people do not have faith in the outcome of the elections.” [OAN, Tipping Point, 6/22/22]
- Tipping Point guest and radio host Andrea Kaye, on a former Democratic congressman who pled guilty to election fraud charges: “That seems so detailed, it’s kind of far-fetched for me to think that it’s just this one dude and this one or two judges. I mean, where did they cook up this scheme? I mean, do they not have, like, this kind of fraud-rigging classes going on across the country?” [Tipping Point, 6/13/22]
- The Thomas More Society’s Thor Hearne misleadingly told McKinney that Zuckerberg spent millions on funding election processes, and “he’s not a stupid person. He expects a return for his money. He wanted to get a particular outcome in this election, and that’s the way he spent the money,” insinuating that Zuckerberg bought the presidency for Biden. [Tipping Point, 6/9/22; NBC News, 9/8/22]
- After a report on software vulnerabilities in voting machines, Ball incredulously commented that a cybersecurity company said, “The software can be hacked … however, they don’t believe any of that happened in 2020.” Ball asked viewers to note the manufacturer of the machines in question: “Dominion Voting Systems.” [OAN, Real America, 6/6/22; Associated Press, 6/1/22]
- OAN pushed to make a former San Luis, Arizona, mayor’s guilty plea for ballot fraud into a smoking gun for widespread election fraud as alleged in 2000 Mules, with White House correspondent Chanel Rion derisively noting that the “so-called fact checkers” ascribe her plea and the movie’s release to “mere coincidences.” According to The Washington Post however, it is “not evidence of any massive ballot-harvesting effort.” [OAN, 6/6/22, 6/6/22; OAN, Real America, 6/6/22; The Washington Post, 6/3/22]
OAN is spreading conspiracy theories about future elections
Not just focused on relitigating the past, OAN has also applied a similar conspiracy theory mindset to the upcoming 2022 midterm and 2024 presidential elections, already warning about a wide variety of ways the Democrats will allegedly cheat.
- In Focus asked right-wing activist J. Christian Adams about Democrats allegedly trying to keep “26,000 dead people on the Michigan voter rolls,” among other “verified nefarious activity and fraudulent voting.” Adams replied that “if you have dead voters on the voter rolls, and you’re mailing ballots, it’s a prescription for disaster.” [OAN, In Focus, 9/7/22]
- Ball spun TikTok’s participation in the Federal Voting Assistance Program as a proxy for the Chinese government to access Americans’ data and steal the 2022 midterms for Democrats. His guest, Ken Cuccinelli, replied that “we did whittle down our problems in elections to American problems by keeping these foreign entities out, and here they are inviting them in for misinformation and influence.” Ball then suggested that Biden, whose ties to China are allegedly proven by his son Hunter Biden’s laptop, is using “the CCP’s TikTok” to steal the midterms. [OAN, Real America, 8/22/22; TikTok, 8/17/22]
- Citing a Federalist article, Tipping Point suggested that a U.S. postal service workers’ union could conspire to aid Biden in the 2022 and 2024 elections “by either delaying ballots to Republican-heavy areas or by interfering with mailed campaign material,” while also noting that USPS has a new division specifically dedicated to election mail. [OAN, Tipping Point, 8/16/22]
- Tipping Point suggested that former attorney general Eric Holder was recruiting Democrats to fix future elections under the guise of being poll workers. Said McKinney, “I thought election monitors were supposed to be neutral, unbiased, or is this the new normal for Democrat-controlled elections after they used COVID to get their way and to really cement that way?” Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington replied that “they don’t want to muck up the process that they have right now, which is systemic widespread fraud.” [OAN, Tipping Point, 8/11/22]
- Sharp warned that “the Democrats are planning on stealing the midterms” and they will do so by using “the next COVID election variant” to encourage mail-in voting: “It’s a tried and true formula, and they got away with it last time. Why not do it again? Who’s going to stop them? The Republicans? … Bring back the COVID hysteria, but for all the crises -- China virus, Ukraine, monkeypox and who knows what else – before November.” [OAN, 8/4/22]
- On In Focus, Harrington claimed that “the midterms are coming, so they need to roll out the next new variant. … They need a new variant for the new mail-ins.” Harrington continued, “This is the only thing they can do. In 2020 they used COVID to cheat on a massive scale. … This is political, this is trying to manipulate the process once again, and lay down the groundwork to cheat, and have a fallback plan when the elections don’t go their way.” [OAN, In Focus, 7/14/22]
OAN is pushing for action on these conspiracy theories
With such fervent belief in these conspiracy theories, OAN has also called for something to be done about them. Additionally, the network has celebrated candidates and officeholders who purportedly combat voter or election fraud, hoped for advantageous outcomes, and defended Lindell from “Biden’s Stasi” over his prominent 2020 conspiracy theories.
- Sharp complained that the FBI “gestapo agents” had found Lindell, “tracked him, hunted him down, and surrounded him while he was having breakfast. … This is the Stalinesque disease that has infected America.” Sharp further warned that the U.S. is “slipping into fascism” and, “If the cowardly Republicans in Washington don't take a stand against this now and put an end to it, there won't be anyone left to save them when Biden’s Stasi agents come knocking on their doors.” [OAN, 9/16/22]
- Lindell went on Real America to say that the phone seizure was about his 2020 election conspiracy theories -- specifically, it was in relation to an alleged breach of Colorado voting machines -- and he said he told the FBI it had been “weaponize[d] … against one of your citizens.” Lindell continued, “I believe they did this so because we were getting cast vote records and everything, and they wanted to put fear into people not to talk to Mike Lindell again. Don't talk to Mike Lindell or you too could have -- you could be arrested or, or taken -- your phone taken in a drive-thru restaurant.” “This is gestapo-style stuff,” Ball added. [OAN, Real America, 9/15/22; The Washington Post, 9/14/22]
- On OAN, Steve Bannon called for viewers to become poll workers to protect the 2022 red wave: “It’s all about … whether this audience, whether this audience turns out and brings people with it, and becomes poll workers, election judges, election officials, and also force multipliers to get everybody to the polls.” [OAN, 9/9/22]
- OAN breathlessly covered Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announcing 20 arrests for voter fraud, claiming, “These people broke the law, voted illegally, and he’s holding them accountable for it. It’s quite literally all there is to it; this is fraudulent voting by definition. It’s not alleged or conspiratorial. It’s actual, illegal voting.” It was later reported that “several people who were arrested last week as part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ voter fraud crackdown were notified by official government entities they were eligible to vote.” [OAN, In Focus, 8/19/22; Politico, 8/26/22]
- “Election adviser” Harry Haury told OAN viewers to visit True The Vote’s website, a nonprofit that helped D’Souza gather data for 2000 Mules, “as a resource to anybody that’s interested,” as well as calling their election fraud hotline and donating money. [OAN, 8/15/22]
- OAN promoted a pro-Trump social media site that lets users directly report supposed election fraud. CloutHub CEO Jeff Brain told OAN anchor Natasha Sweatte that reports and photos of alleged fraud are sent through the app to attorneys who can get the complaint “filed in court within minutes.” The attorneys in question appear to be related to The America Project, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit co-founded in part by former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, both extreme election conspiracy theorists. [MMFA, 8/8/22]
- Real America hosted Michigan GOP secretary of state candidate Kristina Karamo because, Ball said, she was “fighting for election integrity.” Denouncing an effort to expand voting rights as corrupt, Karamo said that “these people are claiming to want to expand elections. No, they want to expand fraud in our elections.” [OAN, Real America, 7/24/22]