Apparently even Fox News isn't sycophantic enough for Trump, so their love affair is on the rocks. Rumors are swirling that Trump is looking for a new mouthpiece that will allow him to take his brand of right-wing autocracy to the next level.
It's no secret that Trump has dreamed about controlling his own TV network; he has publicly mused about the idea since his 2016 campaign. Now it appears that an investment group associated with Trump Jr. is looking to buy a major stake in One America News Network (OAN).
OAN and its hosts have played a central role in promoting alt-right conspiracy theories. They offered up a $100,000 reward for more information in the death of a DNC staffer. One of their featured hosts was behind "pizzagate". More recently, they pushed the theory that the coronavirus was created in a North Carolina laboratory as a bioweapon.
Trump is completely smitten with OAN. The network has often featured many from Trump's inner circle, such as his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, his son, Trump Jr., and former Trump campaign aides. Trump has repeatedly highlighted the network's White House correspondent during press briefings and has praised their coverage in numerous tweets. The White House has even gone as far as to invite OAN's White House correspondent as a personal guest to the briefings after safety measures limited her attendance.
Here are some key points about OAN:
OAN is pro-Trump. Robert Herring, Sr., founder and CEO of the network, has ordered producers to promote pro-Trump stories, anti-Clinton stories, and anti-abortion stories, and to minimize stories about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, the channel ran a special titled "Betrayal at Benghazi: The Cost of Hillary Clinton’s Dereliction and Greed." Herring, the owner of the channel, sent his producers a report that falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton had a brain tumor, and asked them to check up on it. He also shared a report with producers claiming that Planned Parenthood had promoted abortion, and ordered them to minimize coverage of Pope Francis's US visit, due to the Pope's calls for action on global warming (see Laudato si'). Herring also repeatedly ordered his producers not to cover stories pertaining to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
According to former and current employees at the channel, as well as internal e-mails, by July 2017 the executives of the channel had directed the channel to "scuttle stories about police shootings, encourage antiabortion stories, minimize coverage of Russian aggression, and steer away from the new president’s troubles."
In October 2017, the channel claimed without evidence that a "report" had been published which showed "U.K. Crime Rises 13% Annually Amid Spread of Radical Islamic Terror". President Trump later repeated this falsehood, suggesting that he learned of it from OAN.
In June 2017, OAN was granted a permanent seat in the White House's James Brady briefing room. The network's Chief White House Correspondent, Trey Yingst, was one of the top five most called-upon reporters covering the Trump Administration. OAN has been repeatedly called on by President Trump during Presidential press conferences, including in February 2017 when Yingst asked the President about his campaign's contacts with the Russian government. Also in February 2017, OAN was invited to a network lunch with President Trump. In August 2017, President Trump praised OAN, saying: "It's a great network." In response, OAN CEO Robert Herring said that OAN considers itself a tough but fair presence in the White House press corps.
OAN supported the Trump administration's revoking of CNN reporter Jim Acosta's press credentials; most major media outlets, including the conservative Fox News, opposed this decision. In a statement, Robert Herring attacked Fox News, saying he "can't believe Fox is on the other side."
OAN broadcasts every Trump speech uninterrupted.[1