One America News Network (OANN)
One America News Network (OANN), often referred to as One American News (OAN), is a right-wing cable network launched in 2013 by Herring Networks, a for-profit independent media company founded by conservative businessman Robert Herring . The network is headquartered in San Diego, California and operates news bureaus in Washington, D.C. and New York City.  It is known for its reporting from conservative viewpoints and has described itself as one of the greatest supporters of Donald Trump.  OANN has been heavily criticized for promoting conspiracy theories and false information in order to push a far-right agenda.
- 1 Content
- 2 Evolution to Right-Wing
- 3 Controversies
- 4 Ethical Concerns
- 5 References
The network takes a strongly conservative viewpoint across all subjects. While its website includes categories such as sports and entertainment, the bulk of its content is related to US politics.
As of March 2021, its prime-time lineup consists of Real America, In Focus, Tipping Point, After Hours, The Real Story, and Weekly Briefing. All six are centered around politics and offer an extremely conservative perspective, with similar topics and point of views expressed on each show.
The network is known for establishing itself as a prominent pro-Donald Trump network, leading to praise from Trump himself and his followers, as well as shifting its content to further feed into his political agenda.
Real America is one of the network’s most popular programs, it is hosted by political commentator Dan Ball. It claims to focus on giving the true news of the day, with conversations with politicians, lawmakers, pundits, celebrities and social media influencers that are prominent in the current week’s news cycle. 
Tipping Point focuses on an apparent tipping point that is going on America. Host Kara McKinney focuses on issues surrounding the future of America, frequently conspiring about losses of freedom in America. 
The Real Story
The Real Story focuses on the right wing’s belief of perpetuated spread of fake news. Host Natalie Harp “breaks through a world of conflicting narratives and fake news” to bring apparent “facts”.  This program is one of the most obvious culprits of Donald Trump support as they act as an echo chamber for the “fake news” that Trump calls out.
After Hours with Alex Salvi, similar to The Real Story, focuses on separating “news from noise”. Alex Salvi makes many claims about fake news during the program and focuses on current events.  However, Alex Salvi differs from his coworkers as he does come from a liberal background. While he is still a Trump supporter, it is not as severe and blind as other anchors. While other anchors still talk about Trump winning the election, Alex Salvi focuses on what the GOP will look like after Trump. 
Host Stephanie Hamill focuses on the day’s events and tackles them with a sense of humor that differs from other programs on the network. Hamill used to serve as a political commentator and stand-in host for the network’s former flagship program The Ledger Report. 
Weekly Briefing is hosted by Christina Bobb, who uses this show to discuss current events that have happened throughout the week. The show includes segments like panels of experts and “Closing Argument”. One constant from Bobb that is brough up often is the idea that Trump won the 2020 election, and this a widespread belief at this network. 
The Ledger Report
A previous mainstay of the OANN primetime lineup was "The Ledger Report" hosted by Graham Ledger, who began each episode with his signature catchphrase “Stand by! The doors to the newsroom are locked and the ‘PC police’ are not getting in.”  Ledger was publicly vocal about doubting the legitimacy of the COVID-19 virus and criticized the U.S. government’s response to the pandemic, saying he'd prefer to die of the virus than “live like a slave”  and directly compared lockdown orders to Nazi Germany  .
In 2020, ties between Ledger and OANN were cut for unknown reasons. It has yet to be confirmed whether he left of his own accord or was fired by the network  . He currently hosts a podcast on YouTube also titled The Ledger Report.
Evolution to Right-Wing
The network launched on July 4, 2013. It started out initially by running 21 hours of live news, most of which was simple headlines and basic news stories.  Herring, however, wanted the network to grow in notoriety, and started handing the newsroom "must-run" stories, which he handpicked stories mainly from right-wing blogs like Brietbart and the Gateway Pundit
When the 2016 election cycle began, Herring saw the opportunity to stand out from the traditional news channels, like CNN and Fox News, by airing Trump's campaign rallies, and catering to his fan base. After Trump officially announced his candidacy, OANN executive producer Lindsey Oakley told staff "Trump is being treated unfairly by the mainstream media and we need to provide the other side. . . . Not to mention we have loyal viewers that tune in specifically to see the Trump speeches live because no one else carries them. We also see some of our highest ratings during the Trump speeches." 
This commitment to airing Trump's rallies and standing out as the source for Trump content helped establish OANN's current reputation. This, combined with Trump's praise of the network on Twitter has lead to the channel being known for its extreme right-wing standpoint.
One America News Network still lags behind more conventional news outlets in terms of overall viewership, despite attempts to reach the right-wing news market. Fox News has been the longtime favorite cable news option for Republican voters and viewers with conservative ideologies. In a 2021 national survey of GOP voters, 48% of respondents reported watching Fox News at least once a week, compared to 19% for OANN and 26% for Newsmax (a similar conservative and pro-Trump oriented news network).  Some viewers became disillusioned with Fox News due to their restraint in reporting the baseless election fraud conspiracies to the extent that outlets like OANN and Newsax did . From the same 2021 national survey, of those who used to watch Fox News, 28% of them reported now watching OANN at least once a week, and 32% reported watching Newsmax at least once a week. 
White House Press Conferences
The strong support of President Trump granted the network preferential treatment by the White House under his administration. Their correspondents were regularly chosen during press conferences and praised by Trump as a “great network”  that “treats [him] very nicely”  throughout his term. Trump also regularly tweeted posts and reports by OANN including unfounded claims of election fraud  and of the Obama administration using the FBI to spy on the Trump campaign  , among others.
The network was also granted special privileges during the COVID-19 pandemic. In accordance with CDC social distancing guidelines, representatives from different organizations were given access to the White House briefing room on certain days to avoid crowding. OANN reporter Chanel Rion regularly attended press conferences on days not designated to her, claiming to have been invited by the White House and given permission to circumvent the requirements. She was continually chosen for questions by Trump despite the apparent infraction. 
Rachel Maddow Lawsuit
OAN has been engaged in a legal dispute since 2019 against MSNBC correspondent Rachel Maddow, whom they accused of defamation after she referred to the network as “literally paid Russian propaganda.” The court determined that Maddow was speaking in hyperbole  and ruled in favor of Maddow in February of 2021, fining OANN $250,000. The network announced its intention to appeal the decision. 
Mike Gundy T-Shirt Controversy
After Oklahoma State University football coach Mike Gundy posted a picture of himself fishing in an OAN shirt , the coach garnered public attention and backlash. Starting with local media, it spread to national media publications. Almost immediately, Twitter users dug up past Gundy comments that expressed his backing of OAN:"I tell you what's funny is, I was flipping through stations. I found one — I don't even know if anybody knows about this — it's called OAN. It's One America News. And it was so refreshing. They just report the news. There's no commentary. There's no opinions on this. There's no left. There's no right. They just reported the news. And I've been watching them the last week, because they're given us the news and given us more information — in my opinion — some of the positives are coming out. So, that was refreshing."
Shortly after, some of his players shared their disappointment with their coach's decision to support the network. National all-American running back Chuba Hubbard immediately tweeted his dissatisfaction, threatening that he would cut all ties with Oklahoma State and boycott all team activities if the coach continued supporting the network. The tweet gained 134,000 likes in total and started a chain of other players and fans calling out the coach. Oklahoma State University president Burns Hagis responded on Twitter, tweeting "I hear and respect the concerns expressed by our Black student-athletes. This is a time for unity of purpose to confront racial inequities and injustice. We will not tolerate insensitive behavior by anyone at Oklahoma State." The school's athletic director, Mike Holder, followed in similar fashion, writing "This afternoon has been very disturbing. The tweets from the current and former players are of grave concern." 
Gundy responded one day after, tweeting an apology after hearing some of the stances OANN has taken and the controversies the network has been involved in . Gundy hosted a team meeting concerning the picture. Regarding the meeting, Gundy had the following to say: “Our players expressed their feelings as individuals and as team members. They helped me see through their eyes how the T-shirt affected their hearts. Once I learned how that network felt about Black Lives Matter, I was disgusted and knew it was completely unacceptable to me.” 
In 2020, the official OAN YouTube channel was temporarily suspended for spreading misinformation after posting a video claiming that a cure existed for COVID-19. It also received a strike and lost its monetization from advertising and views on the platform.  Despite public pressure, YouTube did not penalize OAN for posting a video earlier that same month falsely claiming that Donald Trump had won the 2020 presidential election.  Youtube gave OANN's channel a one week suspension from monetized content, but never conducted any permanent measures to alter the One America News Youtube channel. The Google-owned video platform has a 3 strike policy in place before an account is fully banned, and since this was their first official offense, the channel remains as free and unchecked as before. 
Russian Government Ties
OANN has been accused of having strong ties to Russian disinformation campaigns and supporting Russian government interests through its news stories. Chanel Rion, an OANN on-air personality, emailed the Biden campaign claiming to have recordings of Biden speaking with then Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko. Rion is known for publicly collaborating with Rudy Giuliani on gathering information on Biden in Ukraine to help Trump with his 2020 reelection campaign. OANN’s efforts to link Ukraine with American politics, specifically accusing them as the true interferer of 2016’s electoral campaign, aligns with Russian government interests. Another disinformation campaign led by OANN involved the White Helmets, a humanitarian group whose main focus is rescuing civilians from Syria’s civil war. OANN accused them of being terrorists and faking chemical attacks to provoke retaliation from Bashar al-Assad, a Syrian dictator directly supported by Putin.
A former employee of OANN claimed that they had been told “yeah, we like Russia here” during their first day of work. Many other former employees have gone on record for complaining about OANN’s blatant censorship, violations of journalistic integrity, and publication of conspiracy theories, leading to their eventual resignations. Complaints about Robert Herring Sr., founder of OANN, were most common and frequently cited his overbearing control over the outlet’s news agenda. Staffers have quoted: “Mr. Herring just genuinely is kind of enamored of Putin”.
Numerous reports from employees and internal emails have claimed that it’s common for Herring and other executive producers to influence reporting in a way to advance a conservative agenda. While it claims to deliver “straight news, no opinion,” it routinely pushes stories that condemn abortion and downplays police shootings as part of an effort to portray Trump and the Republican party in a positive light. In one case, Herring restricted the reporting of any polling data that did not have Trump in the lead. 
Conspiracy Theories and Misinformation
One America News Network is a well documented promoter of conspiracy theories on wide ranging topics, usually with little to no credibility. In November 2020, YouTube barred OAN from posting new videos for a week and stripped it of its ability to make money off existing content after it uploaded a video promoting a phony cure for COVID-19. YouTube has been criticized in the past for allowing OAN to spread misinformation using its platform. YouTube’s temporary suspension of OAN’s account marked its first crackdown against the network. 
California Bible Ban
In April 2018, OAN host Liz Wheeler interviewed Travis Allen, a republican candidate for governor of California. In the interview, Allen claimed that Assembly Bill 2943 would “literally” ban Bible sales. Wheeler claimed that “This is essentially criminalizing religious beliefs.” Allen replied, “Well, literally, according to how this law is written, yes, it would.” The claim spread after the interview was posted on YouTube and received over 100,000 views.  The video was also viewed over 2 million times on Facebook. Both Snopes and Politifact have stated that the claim is false, as the bill is related to sexual orientation change efforts. 
OAN features reports by Jack Posobiec, a conspiracy theorist well known for propagating the infamous “Pizzagate” hoax  as well as conspiracies surrounding the murder of Democratic National Committee staff member Seth Rich, claiming that he was killed due to investigating crimes of the DNC.  During protests over the death of George Floyd, he claimed that pipe bombs were found at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C.  A Park Police spokesman later confirmed that this statement was unfounded. 
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, OAN amplified numerous false claims about the origins and seriousness of the virus. Early in the outbreak, it supported the unfounded conspiracy that coronavirus was less deadly than the seasonal flu, stating that the death rate was significantly lower than the World Health Organization found it to be.  In 2021, the network ran a headline claiming that there is a “99% chance COVID-19 was lab-made”  and an article continuing to circulate claims that hydroxychloroquine is an effective way to treat the virus, echoing claims made by Trump and other notable right-wing figures. 
In March 2020, OAN aired a coronavirus special called Exposing China’s Coronavirus: The Fears, The Lies and the Unknown. During the program, OAN’s chief White House correspondent, Chanel Rion, suggested that the novel coronavirus may have originated in a North Carolina lab.  Rion cited Greg Rubini, a “deep state” conspiracy theorist who claimed that the coronavirus was genetically engineered as a bio-weapon at the University of North Carolina BSL-3 lab.  Rion also cited a 2015 study from the National Institutes of Health, titled “SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronavirus pose threat for human emergence,”  and used its links to the University of North Carolina to suggest that the novel coronavirus was created there. Although Rion had originally used Rubini’s conspiracy theory that the virus was created in North Carolina, she concluded by implying that Chineses scientists, after purportedly helping to create the virus in North Carolina in 2015, then released it from a laboratory in Wuhan near the end of 2019. 
During the many Black Lives Matter protests occurring in summer of 2020, OANN falsely accused elderly protester Martin Gugino of being linked with Antifa and intentionally intercepting the radio communications of police officers. This was in response to the nationwide outcry against the Buffalo Police Department, who had been videotaped shoving Gugino violently to the ground, causing serious injury. Kristian Rouz, a OANN correspondent, claimed that Gugino was “using a police tracker” and associated his behavior with antifa activity, a conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump would further disseminate through his Twitter.
Following the results of the 2020 presidential election, OAN made numerous claims that Donald Trump was the rightful winner of the election, despite the race being called in favor of Joe Biden by every credible news source and the results being certified. This included accusations of voter fraud, tampering, and compromised voting machines. . A popular conspiracy theory among pro-Trump circles in the immediate aftermath of his defeat in the 2020 presidential election was in regards to voting machines created by Dominion Voting Systems.
Many of Donald Trump’s allies, such as Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and others, consistently reiterated that there was massive voter fraud, and that the algorithm used by Dominion’s voting machines flipped votes towards Joe Biden in order to overturn a supposed landslide victory by Donald Trump . These baseless claims were continually perpetuated by OANN and Trump’s allies in the weeks following the 2020 election. Many Trump supporters tuned in to listen to these conspiracy theories being touted by anchors and media personalities. In some ways, this perpetuation of grave disinformation has led to some saying that they inspired the January 6th riots at the US Capitol.  After the inauguration of Joe Biden as president, Dominion Voting Systems retaliated against the disinformation spouted by OANN and others with defamation lawsuits with damages reported in the billions of dollars. Around this time, OANN stealthily began removing articles from their website about the alleged voter fraud and abuse committed by Dominion in order to steal the election from Donald Trump. 
- Herring, Rob. "LinkedIn Profile"
- OAN “About One America News Network”
- The Hill “Conservative outlets complains about lack of Trump shout-out at rally” 9 March 2019
- Niemietz, Brian. “Trump Rants ‘Sad’ Fox News Is in ‘Limboland,’ While Praising Rival OANN.” Tampa Bay Times, 17 Dec. 2020, www.tampabay.com/news/nation-world/2020/12/16/trump-rants-sad-fox-news-is-in-limboland-while-praising-rival-oann.
- Real America with Dan Ball. (n.d.). One America News Network. https://www.oann.com/realamerica/
- Tipping Point with Kara McKinney. (n.d.). One America News Network. https://www.oann.com/tippingpoint/
- The Real Story with Natalie Harp. (n.d.). One America News Network. https://www.oann.com/therealstory/
- After Hours with Alex Salvi. (n.d.). One America News Network. https://www.oann.com/afterhours/
- Nguyen, T. (2021, February 9). I Spent 11 Hours Inside the MAGA Bubble. POLITICO. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/02/07/oan-trump-network-11-hours-466134
- In Focus with Stephanie Hamill. (n.d.). One America News Network. https://www.oann.com/infocus/
- Weekly Briefing with Christina Bobb. (n.d.). One America News Network. https://www.oann.com/weeklybriefing/
- Breitbart: Graham Ledger image: https://media.breitbart.com/media/2019/09/IMG_6585.jpeg
- Ledger, Graham "The Ledger Report Tweet" 16 June 2018
- Ledger, Graham "Graham Ledger COVID-19 Tweet" 22 March 2020
- Ledger, Graham "Graham Ledger Nazi Germany Tweet" 17 July 2020
- Stone, Ken "‘Burnt Out’ or Given Boot? Debate Rages on Graham Ledger’s Exit from OAN" 6 August 2020
- Wilson, Jason. “OANN: What Is the Alternative Far-Right Media Outlet Trump Is Pushing?” The Guardian, 16 Nov. 2020, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/16/oann-what-is-tv-network-trump-is-pushing.
- “One America News Was Desperate for Trump’s Approval. Here’s How It Got It.” Columbia Journalism Review, www.cjr.org/the_profile/one-america-news-oan-trump-herring.php. Accessed 2 Apr. 2021.
- Rupar, Aaron. “OANN, the Other Right-Wing Outlet Trump Keeps Tweeting about, Explained.” Vox, 13 May 2019, www.vox.com/2019/5/13/18617594/trump-one-america-news-network-explained.
- (March 2021) Fabrizio, Lee and Associates: GOP Voters' News Network Viewing Habits
- Wilson, J (2020 Nov 16) The Guardian: OANN: what is the alternative far-right media outlet Trump is pushing? https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/16/oann-what-is-tv-network-trump-is-pushing
- OAN. "WATCH: Which Media Outlet Has Gained Pres. Trump's Approval?" 29 August 2017
- Trump, Donald "Trump calls on @OANN reporter" 19 March 2020
- Trump, Donald "Fraudulent Ballots Tweet" 01 December 2020, 2:31 PM EST
- Trump, Donald "Obama Spying Tweet" 15 March 2019, 8:15 AM EST
- Farhi, Paul "OANN threatened with removal from White House press room after correspondent Chanel Rion makes unauthorized appearances" 01 April 2020
- Conklin, Michael "When 'Literally' Literally Means 'Figuratively': One America News Network v. Rachel Maddow" 19 June 2020
- Yasharoff, Hannah "OAN parent company ordered to pay MSNBC, Rachel Maddow $250,000 after losing defamation lawsuit" 09 February 2021
- Mike Gundy tweet: https://twitter.com/Kyle__Boone/status/1272553163766317061?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1272553163766317061%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.si.com%2Fcollege%2Foklahomastate%2Ffootball%2Fchuba-hubbard-protests-mike-gundy-t-shirt
- Gundy comments: https://www.oklahoman.com/article/5659723/osu-football-read-the-entirety-of-mike-gundys-viral-opening-statement-on-coronavirus-and-football
- University Officers: https://www.nfl.com/news/chuba-hubbard-threatens-boycott-over-ok-state-coach-s-oan-t-shirt
- Gundy Response: https://twitter.com/CoachGundy/status/1273002885283020809?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1273002885283020809%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fsports%2F2020%2F06%2F15%2Fshirt-worn-by-oklahoma-states-mike-gundy-could-spark-revolt-by-his-players%2F
- Bio: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/06/15/shirt-worn-by-oklahoma-states-mike-gundy-could-spark-revolt-by-his-players/
- Freiman, Jordan "YouTube suspends One America News Network channel for violating COVID-19 misinformation policy" 25 November 2020
- Gandel, Steven "YouTube won't take down video falsely claiming Donald Trump won the election" 10 November 2020
- Https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-55071344. (n.d.).
- Dovere, E. (2020, June 11). "Is OAN the Leading Edge of Russian Misinformation?" The Atlantic
- Poulsen, K. (2019, May 4). "Trump’s New Favorite Network Embraces Russian Propaganda" The Daily Beast
- Poulsen, K. (2019, May 18). "The Hell of Working at Trump’s New Favorite Network" The Daily Beast
- Fisher, Marc " An inside look at One America News, the insurgent TV network taking ‘pro-Trump’ to new heights " 05 July 2017
- Axios “YouTube temporarily suspends, demonitizes OANN” 24 November 2020
- The San Diego Union Tribune “No, a new bill wouldn’t ‘literally’ ban Bible sales in California but debate rages” 26 April 2018
- Snopes “Would a Proposed Law ‘Ban the Bible’ in California” 20 April 2018
- Peters, Jeremy "A Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theorist, a False Tweet and a Runaway Story" 10 June 2017
- Sampathkumar, Mythili "Donald Trump's false claim about UK crime rate seems to have come from conspiracy theorist news network" 21 October 2017
- Polobiec, Jack "Pipe Bomb Tweet" 02 June 2020
- Sommer, Ray "Infamous Pizzagater Jack Posobiec Pushed Hoax About Pipe Bombs Being Planted at Korean War Memorial" 03 June 2020
- OAN "Coronavirus outbreak in U.S. on track to be less severe than this year's seasonal flu" 21 April 2020
- OAN Newsroom "EXCLUSIVE: 99% chance COVID-19 was lab-made, scientists call out the WHO" 10 March 2021
- OAN Newsroom [https://www.oann.com/peer-reviewed-journal-reports-hydroxychloroquine-can-reduce-mortality-rates-in-covid-19-patients/ "Peer-reviewed journal reports hydroxychloroquine can reduce mortality rates in COVID-19 patients "] 30 January 2021
- MediaMatters “Pro-Trump OAN pushes wild conspiracy theory that novel coronavirus was created in a North Carolina lab” 18 March 2020
- MediaMatters "Greg Rubini tweets"
- NatMed “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses show potential for human emergence” 9 November 2015
- Quinn, M. (2020, June 10). "Trump suggests without evidence 75-year-old man shoved to the ground by Buffalo police was a "set up"" CBS News
- OAN Newsroom "Mounting voting fraud evidence raises suspicions over Democrats’ refusal to allow audit of voting machines" 25 February 2021
- Zurawik, D. (2021 Jan 8) The Baltimore Sun: Where does right-wing media go after being splintered and debased by Trump? https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/columnists/zurawik/bs-ed-zontv-cable-news-shift-20210108-di7tkdhnjnhh5myxhqvqawzfqu-story.html
- Dastagir, A. (2021 Jan 14) USA Today: Anyone can fall for 'fake news,' conspiracy theories: The psychology of misinformation
- Brest, M. The Washington Examiner: OANN deletes articles alleging election fraud amid possible litigation: Report https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/oann-deletes-articles-alleging-election-fraud