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One America Network’s Shameful Last Days On National TV

On July 21, Verizon followed in DirecTV’s footsteps and announced it would not be renewing its contract with the far-right conspiracy theory network One America News. Having learned nothing from its catastrophic response to DirecTV, OAN denounced Verizon and encouraged viewers to harass and boycott the “radical Marxist corporation.” And since then, OAN has only further proved its worthlessness.

Without a major carrier, OAN remains focused on national issues like a fear of roving transgender gangs harassing conservatives, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s support for gay men who flash “their genitals to little boys and girls” (she appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race -- a show with no children -- two years ago), and Verizon’s “censorship” of OAN.

Before OAN was officially kicked off national television, however, the network spent its last week much like the years before, warning viewers of “Fauci-funded bioweapons” unleashed against the people, hand-wringing over billionaires “pushing the transgender issue,” speculating about gay men with monkeypox sexually assaulting children, lamenting the need for a literal war against drug cartels, and discussing the left’s grand plot to steal the 2022 midterms, beginning with the “Marxist censorship” of OAN and other right-wing voices.

Prior to the drop, Pearson Sharp, Infowars’ favorite OAN correspondent, delivered one more report about the “predator class” using COVID-19 vaccines to “depopulate the world” by 15 percent.

“They want to kill off the useless people, as they call us,” Sharp ominously said. “And you can already see it happening. … We know these vaccines are hardest on the elderly, so it makes perfect sense that the Bolsheviks in our government would want to wipe out as many retired Americans as possible. Can’t pay Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security if people are dead, don’t you know?”

“These Fauci-funded bioweapons,” Sharp warned, “are products of a rogue globalist government that hates America and hates its citizens, and is doing everything in its power to wipe us out. This is corporate domestic bioterrorism, plain and simple,” and “the predator class in Washington” which is “responsible for this genocide” must pay the price.


OAN’s final days of national carriage also targeted LGBTQ people with bigoted nonsense. For making investments in transgender issues and “quote-unquote, ‘gender care,’” Tipping Point host Kara McKinney labeled Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his cousin, Jennifer -- whom McKinney also deadnamed and misgendered -- “two prime examples of transhumanists trying to play God by reshaping the world through technology.” McKinney said the Pritzkers are an example of billionaires who are “ really pushing the transgender issue” alongside Big Pharma, which she said sees it as “another potential moneymaker” as “COVID starts to wind down at least somewhat.”

Before inisting that he did not want to sound homophobic, Real America’s Ball took news of multiple children testing positive for monkeypox as a potential sign that they had been sexually assaulted by gay men. “How does a kid in Washington, D.C., and a kid in California -- we’re talking toddlers -- get monkeypox if it’s barely ever transmitted through just touching the skin,” Ball asked, exactly describing monkeypox transmission, “because otherwise, you know where I’m going with this.”

Ball’s guest, the anti-COVID-19 vaccine Dr. Brian Tyson, replied that he believed that both children “came from a gay relationship family, or had contact with somebody in the gay community, and I think that that’s really where we’re going with this.” Speculating that one child may be undocumented, Tyson said, “Who knows what’s happened to that kid. And we see bad things happen to kids all the time in those situations.”

“That’s what I’m saying. That’s where I’m going with it,” Ball replied, talking over Tyson’s hedge that “it’s a little too early to draw conclusions on that.”

Speaking of Ball and children, the Real America host also spent part of his last week on national television encouraging parents to hit their children for misbehaving. After a guest blamed “psychotropic drugs” and other “externalities” for mass shootings, Ball suggested parents should ignore medical treatments for behavior problems and just hit them instead.

“We can’t say enough about what we’re doing to our children, folks. The next time you take your kid who you think’s a little bit hyper, or a little bit despondent, or a little bit sidetracked in the classroom, don’t feed him drugs.” Ball continued, “I’m of a different age … and when they said, 'Dan's hyperactive. Dan won't sit still in class. Dan won’t shut his mouth,' nobody said, 'Pump Dan full of drugs' 40 years ago when I was seven or eight. You know what they did? They cracked me one and then I got in line."

In its final days of national carriage, OAN also called for military action against drug cartels. With no concern for the possibility of starting a war with Mexico, or U.S. airstrikes on U.S. soil, host Addison Smith called for “using the unfathomable power and strength of our military to deal with Mexican drug cartels” and compared the would-be war to ongoing U.S. special operations and drone campaigns.

“The Mexican drug operation is one of, if not the, biggest threat to this nation right now,” Smith warned. “If our United States military has a job to deal with any group, that should be target number one, and we could do it very easily.” His guest, Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX), agreed that the U.S. should “use every means necessary to secure our southern border, to protect the American people against the Mexican drug cartels.”


OAN’s final days on national television were a shameful mess of the vitriol and dangerous conspiracy theories it is known for, down to the network’s explanation of why it was leaving Verizon. According to Sharp, “there’s no chance in hell” Democrats will allow Republicans to win control of Congress in November, so they will cheat as they did in 2020, “and the process starts, of course with a massive, widespread, coordinated campaign of censorship,” which naturally included DirecTV and Verizon dumping OAN.

“It's essentially institutionalized discrimination,” Sharp complained as his network’s time ran out. “It’s appalling to think that the criminals in Washington are colluding with the criminals in the media to prevent you, the American people, from figuring out just how much of the Constitution they're willing to shred to stay in power.”


Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Verizon Drops Far-Right One America News From Cable Network

On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that Verizon was “unable to reach an agreement” with Herring Networks, the parent company of One America News, and that OAN will be “removed from the Fios TV lineup” on July 31.

In recent weeks, One America News Network has lobbed attacks at Verizon, one of its last remaining carriers, for “silencing conservative voices” and “engaging in censorship” against OAN. This wave of attacks came into clearer focus when Verizon publicly revealed that its contract with Herring Networks, OAN’s parent company, expires on July 30.

The “content update” for customers on Verizon’s website states that “sometimes broadcasters and cable networks demand unacceptable price increases,” implying that the issue is Herring Networks charging Verizon more money than its channels are worth -- which is not much.

And in a message dated July 15, Verizon alerted Fios customers that starting soon, the provider would be offering OAN and Herring's A Wealth of Entertainment, (AWE) “to those Fios TV customers who want to watch them and are willing to pay for them” -- suggesting the channels might soon be available only as premium subscriptions.

Whether the issue is financial or otherwise, Verizon is right to balk at renewing the contract to carry an extremist, increasingly hateful, and anti-democracy network. OAN has shown a zeal unlike any other self-styled news organization for fighting the results of the 2020 election, including involving itself in the Trump campaign’s fake electors scheme and state election “audits,” as well as issuing calls for treason trials and mass executions of media and Democratic Party leadership.

OAN also manages to stand out among right-wing cable networks for its viciously anti-LGBTQ commentary, labeling LGBTQ people and their allies -- especially transgender people -- as pedophiles “satisfying their own warped perversions” and also “canceling reproduction” for “population control.” Said one guest, “We need to start really going after these people and really punishing them.”

As Verizon’s contract with OAN is coming to a close, the network is still staking out the only negotiating position it seems to know and one that worked so well in its fractious DirecTV relationship -- hostile attacks.

In an interview with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), OAN correspondent Caitlin Sinclair labeled Verizon “one of the largest and wokest companies to date” and accused it of “looking to drop this network, One America News, from their lineup.” Sinclair asked Stefanik, “What pressure are you and Republican colleagues possibly putting on Verizon, or can you put on a company like Verizon?” Stefanik replied, “It’s not up to Verizon to determine what American citizens, what information they can access. That’s up to the consumer themselves.”


In a different portion of the same Stefanik interview, which OAN aired in two separate segments, Sinclair claimed that OAN’s viewership “is just proof that the American people do not want orthodoxy.” She also asked, “What can the American people do in the meantime as far as immediate steps to ensure consumer choice when it comes to news programming?” Stefanik advised the consumers to “hold these companies accountable” by choosing to “take your dollars elsewhere.”

Sinclair concluded the segment by declaring, “We the American people cannot continue to allow this level of censorship. House Republicans and their legislative efforts are commendable and critical, but we still need to hear from you. This assault on our sovereignty ends with us, the American citizens, taking back the power.”

In another interview, this time with Heritage Foundation tech policy director Kara Frederick, OAN D.C. bureau chief John Hines asked if a 2021 letter from Democratic members of Congress asking TV providers, including Verizon, to comment on right-wing misinformation was “a form of subtle intimidation, sort of a wink-and-a-nod form of intimidation, or a tacit threat” from the government. Frederick replied that Congress was essentially saying that “if we don’t like what these networks are basically saying and disseminating, then we aim to cut you off at the knees.” Hines concluded that “maybe even your cable -- DirecTV, Verizon, Comcast -- maybe they won’t be on your side after they get some of these letters,” which were sent 17 months ago.


OAN’s consistent whining about “censorship” is a red herring from the unavoidable truth: This incredibly hateful and anti-democratic network is a liability for any TV provider that does business with it.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

One America News Promotes Election Deniers In Key State Races

In the lead-up to the 2022 midterms, far-right conspiracy theory outlet One America News has relentlessly promoted Big Lie supporters running for key statewide elected positions. It’s the latest iteration of the pro-Trump network’s ongoing effort to undermine U.S. elections: platform and potentially elect allies who've promised to turn OAN's favorite election conspiracy theories into state policy.

OAN has played a major role in promoting election-denying GOP candidates Doug Mastriano, Kari Lake, Mark Finchem, Matt Deperno, Kristina Karamo, and Burt Jones. According to a Media Matters review of OAN appearances since the 2020 election, these candidates have racked up more than 100 combined appearances on OAN, often through sycophantic interviews and campaign plugs disguised as news reports. A majority of these interviews aired before DirectTV booted the network off its largest distribution platform on April 4.

Fox News has seemingly aired just five interviews with these election denialist front-runners, who are instead turning toward more fringe conservative outlets for coverage. As a network dedicated to election lies and still able to hold Donald Trump’s attention, OAN is uniquely poised to promote right-wing election deniers running for office across the country. Two OAN hosts, The Real Story’s Natalie Harp and Weekly Briefing’s Christina Bobb, even recently left the network to help the former president’s Save America PAC elect election-denialist candidates.

Mastriano, Deperno, Karamo, and Jones have now won their primaries and will join other OAN-backed candidates like Ohio Republican congressional nominee J.R. Majewski in the general election. Polls predict that Lake and Finchem will join their cohorts after Arizona’s August 2 primary. All six of these candidates have ties to anti-government and extremist movements, including Stop the Steal, QAnon, the Oath Keepers, and the ongoing campaign to overturn the 2020 election.

Doug Mastriano (Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Nominee)

On May 17, state Sen. Doug Mastriano -- a QAnon-promoting “Stop the Steal” adherent being advised by former Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis -- won the crowded Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial primary. The following night, “the next Pennsylvania governor” fittingly celebrated with his “good friends” on OAN; the network had spent the past 20 months promoting his proposed state election audit and calling Mastriano an “election integrity warrior.”

According to Media Matters’ internal database, Mastriano hasn’t appeared on a weekday Fox show since May 2020. In contrast, Mastriano has appeared on OAN at least 34 separate times – mostly for interview segments and live coverage about his attempts to recreate the bogus Maricopa County, Arizona, election audit in Pennsylvania. Mastriano traveled to the Arizona audit site last June, where he was promptly interviewed by then-OAN hosts Christina Bobb and Natalie Harp. (At the time, Bobb was using her OAN-promoted nonprofit to fund far-right lawmakers' trips to the audit, which OAN did not disclose to viewers.)

Like Bobb, Mastriano has been subpoenaed by the House Select Committee for his involvement in the Capitol insurrection, including attempts to pressure GOP leadership into adopting a fake slate of electors. Six days before the insurrection, Real America host Dan Ball praised Mastriano for his attempt to overturn Pennsylvania’s 2020 election results, since “the numbers don’t add up.”

OAN also aired live coverage of the sham hearing on supposed election fraud that Mastriano spearheaded at a hotel in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in late November 2020. Less than two weeks before the January 6 insurrection, host Chanel Rion even praised the “domino effect” Mastriano’s “forum” had on efforts to overturn election results in Arizona, Michigan, and Georgia.

In a recent appearance discussing efforts to restore “election integrity” on Real America, Mastriano similarly boasted that “anything you see in Wisconsin, in Arizona, in Georgia had its roots actually in the hearing in Gettysburg.”

Appropriately, Mastriano seemingly announced his campaign for governor on the January 8 edition of Weekly Briefing, breaking the news to Bobb after lying about Pennsylvania’s 2020 election. He then asked OAN viewers to “help get us across the line” and become “the next governor of Pennsylvania” – then compared insurrectionists jailed for participating in the January 6 Capitol attack to Japanese Americans held in internment camps during World War II.

The former OAN host was particularly close with the GOP candidate. While at OAN, Bobb appeared on Mastriano’s radio show. Months later, Mastriano treated Bobb’s family to a “private tour” of Gettysburg.

Kari Lake (Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate)

OAN has hosted Kari Lake over 25 times since she announced her gubernatorial campaign last June, with the network consistently promoting the serial election liar. Though the presumed GOP nominee, tied to Nazi sympathizers and QAnon conspiracy theorists, has been a frequent presence on OAN and other fringe media, she hadn’t appeared on weekday Fox News until a June 27 interview on Special Report.

While appearing on OAN, Lake has pushed a variety of OAN-endorsed election conspiracy theories and lies. She repeatedly pushed the debunked “Sharpiegate” conspiracy theory, was a vocal proponent of the pointless Arizona election audit, and has told OAN that, as governor, she “would not have certified” or would “decertify” the 2020 election. (There is currently no legal pathway to decertify an election.)

In a June 1 Real America interview, the former local news anchor told host Dan Ball, “I believe these journalists, some of them have blood on their hands. Think about what happens when you have a stolen election." She continued, “Their day will come when they will have to face their maker, and it's not gonna be pretty." Minutes later, Ball doubled down on his endorsement of Lake and directed viewers to her campaign site.

OAN has also tapped Lake to spread anti-vaccine misinformation and LGBTQ hate. In a Real America segment attacking LGBTQ representation in children's cartoons last August, Lake complained about the “whole LGBTQ+ agenda that seems to be being pushed on our children.” Against clips of Muppet Babies character Gonzo coming out as nonbinary, Lake claimed that media's “whole intent is to divide us, separate us into groups, and put wedges between us.” She concluded, “In some ways, I hope they go under, because they’re not serving America, they’re destroying free press.”

Mark Finchem (Arizona Secretary Of State Candidate)

Since current frontrunner and election denialist Mark Finchem launched his bid to become Arizona's next secretary of state last May, OAN has hosted him over 21 times; Finchem has not appeared on Fox News. The QAnon supporter and “Stop the Steal” adherent tied to an anti-government extremist group is OAN’s pick to stop leftists from enacting "totalitarian control” of the United States.


The House Select Committee recently subpoenaed Finchem over his involvement in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election – efforts which OAN regularly promoted. As the secretary of state candidate explained to Natalie Harp last November, Finchem helped draft an evidence book meant to sway then-Vice President Mike Pence into supporting an illegal alternate slate of electors for Trump.

On OAN, the Trump-endorsed candidate has pushed debunked conspiracy theories about “fictitious voters” and “sovereign fraud” to justify calls for “ending mail-in voting” and investigating election workers for “racketeering.”


Last July, Finchem assured Harp he would not have certified the 2020 election had he been secretary of state. Finchem falsely claimed that “under the 10th Amendment and the legal doctrine that the kid who steals a candy bar cannot keep a candy bar when he gets caught,” the ability to decertify elections is “a state right. it's an unenumerated power that the state legislatures have.” Finchem has also called for Arizona to “decertify, reclaim, and then petition other states to invoke the 12th Amendment" to rerun the 2020 election nationwide.

On- and off-air, OAN hosts have responded to these claims by repeatedly directing viewers to Finchem’s campaign site, which hosts a petition to decertify the 2020 election results. In February, the network promoted Finchem-backed legislation to decertify the election results of Maricopa, Pima, and Yuma counties. Legal experts and Arizona’s house speaker dismissed the OAN-promoted measure as “legally unsound” and “obviously unconstitutional."

Matt DePerno (Michigan Attorney General Candidate)

On April 23, the Michigan GOP endorsed Matt DePerno — a fringe lawyer who actively worked to overturn the 2020 election — for state attorney general. That night, DePerno tagged OAN’s Bobb in a tweet thanking his supporters for helping him win “this historic victory.”

DePerno, who has not appeared on Fox News, has been interviewed on OAN at least 16 times since the 2020 election, with the network often promoting the candidate and his “groundbreaking lawsuit” to (unsuccessfully) relitigate Michigan’s 2020 election.

Last September, “the next attorney general” promised Harp he would “assemble a coalition to investigate 2020 and prosecute anyone involved in this voter fraud.” One of DePerno’s targets is Michigan’s current Democratic secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson. On The Real Story, DePerno has falsely accused Benson of rigging election audits and entertained the host’s unfounded allegation that Benson purposefully kept dead voters on Michigan’s voting rolls to rig the 2020 election.

In a March 3 appearance on The Real Story, DePerno falsely declared the “No. 1 issue in this state” was the 2020 election, saying, “We have to cling to what’s left of the Constitution and claw back everything that’s been taken from us, and I'm the candidate to do that.” Instead of pressing him, Harp thanked DePerno for his “courage” and advertised his website to OAN viewers.

Kristina Karamo (Michigan Secretary Of State Candidate)

OAN has interviewed election-denying conspiracy theorist Kristina Karamo, the Trump-endorsed GOP pick for Michigan's secretary of state, at least 8 times since June 2021. The former poll watcher garnered attention with her December 2020 Fox interviews about supposedly witnessing election fraud in a Detroit polling center. Since then, Fox has not hosted Karamo.

On OAN, Karamo has routinely promised hosts she will recreate the OAN-supported Arizona audit, which experts decried as a “clown show,” in order to restore confidence in elections and the American republic. In one Weekly Briefing appearance last November, Karamo called voter fraud a “national security threat,” and told viewers that “we lack the people in government with the honesty and decency” to enforce the law “if a poll challenger's rights are violated.”

Against a Real Story chyron titled “Saving Michigan,” Karamo claimed on OAN last September that George Soros “injected people like Jocelyn Benson,” Michigan’s current secretary of state, into government in order to rig “one of the top states that determine presidential election outcomes.” (Karamo has spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories targeting Soros in the past, as well.)

One month later, Karamo baselessly called her Democratic opponent an out-of-state plant meant to “corrupt the election system so the people of Michigan can be disenfranchised, to put it plainly.” Harp agreed with Karamo’s comments and encouraged her to come back on OAN.

Burt Jones (Georgia Lieutenant Governor Candidate)

Georgia’s Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, Burt Jones has appeared on OAN over 10 times since Trump endorsed him last September. In the lead-up to Jones’ May 17 primary win, OAN repeatedly promoted Jones' bid to become the second-highest elected official in the state of Georgia.

The state senator— who has not appeared on Fox News— first joined OAN during a Bobb-funded June pilgrimage to check out last year’s Arizona audit, shortly after Jones’ colleagues had stripped him of his committee leadership positions for pushing election lies. On April 15, Jones told The Real Story that this resistance from colleagues, including current Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, inspired his campaign: “One of the main reasons why I’m running for lieutenant governor is because that's where a lot of the pushback came from.”


Last December, Harp essentially endorsed Jones, telling him, “You've been such a champion for election integrity, even when the RINOs were against you. Thank you for the work you're doing.” She stressed, “The people of Georgia have to be so excited that you're running having an election integrity champion as lieutenant governor.”

Earlier this year, Bobb asked Jones if people “actually get involved to secure their elections locally, that the election actually is salvageable, it can be saved and you can have a fair election. What do you think?” Jones responded “absolutely,” and once again plugged his efforts to eliminate voting machines and drop boxes.

At the request of OAN hosts, Jones has promised to investigate the 2020 election and fully support OAN-promoted conspiracy theorists “waging war against election corruption.” In January, OAN even recruited Jones for its ongoing campaign encouraging viewers to stop nonexistent election rigging and work the polls.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

How Bad Were OAN’s Last Months On DirecTV? This Bad

  • As of April 5, DirecTV has removed One America News Network from its TV subscription packages.

In January, DirecTV announced that it would not renew its contract with the far-right conspiracy theory network. Although OAN provided years of virulent bigotry and right-wing misinformation, including one reporter’s on- and off-screen attempts to overturn the 2020 election, the announcement came after a massive public backlash to a Reuters report which revealed that DirecTV’s owner, AT&T, played a critical role in creating OAN and supplied 90% of its income.

Once news broke of its DirecTV contract expiration, OAN filed a breach of contract lawsuit against AT&T and briefly solicited viewers for “dirt” on AT&T’s board chair. Meanwhile, OAN programming has gotten worse since January, as the network doubled down on old staples like anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and lies about the 2020 election, as well as irresponsible coverage of new topics like the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Supreme Court nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The OAN line on COVID-19 vaccines, as delivered by correspondent Pearson Sharp, is that the vaccines are “turning into DNA” to become “part of your body’s genetic code,” meaning that “there’s a good chance they could … kill you.” None of this is true, but in February, Sharp took these abject lies about vaccine mortality in a genocidal direction, telling OAN viewers that the survival of the United States depended on COVID-19 vaccines killing liberals. Sharp also appeared on Infowars, where he hypothesized that COVID-19 restrictions could spark a justified revolution.

Though she was not OAN’s only misinformer about the 2020 election, former host Christina Bobb became the network’s face of its attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. She fought for, reported on, and fundraised for the Arizona “audit,” and before she left OAN in March to work for former President Donald Trump, Bobb had begun a new phase of her pressure campaign against state-level Republicans to begin new “audits.”

OAN also attached its brand of unhinged conspiracy theories to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Multiple OAN figures have suggested or stated that the Russian attack on a maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, was what Sharp called a “false flag operation” connected to billionaire George Soros.

But few OAN personalities took as much of an interest in spreading misinformation about the war in Ukraine as prime-time host Dan Ball, who repeatedly spread Russian government propaganda about nonexistent “biochemical weapons plants” in Ukraine, and seems to fervently believe that the war somehow involves President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and the 2020 Trump campaign’s old, desperate allegations against Biden and a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma. In one segment about Ukraine, Ball even agreed with a guest that the U.S. military should invade and occupy northern Mexico because of immigration.

OAN also spent the past few weeks directing viewers’ ire toward Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. Like much of right-wing media, OAN is enthralled by the false narrative that Jackson “lets pedos out of jail early,” according to Ball, who also called the accomplished jurist “scum” based on this smear. OAN programming has called Jackson part of “the pedophilia problem that is currently happening in the left,” an unmistakable reference to QAnon lies (previously seen during the pre-QAnon Pizzagate era) that liberal elites participate in the systematic sexual exploitation of children.

In what may be OAN's waning days, as DirecTV essentially replaced it with Fox Nation and some of its more visible “talent” have fled the sinking ship, OAN launched its own streaming service in an attempt to stay alive. While subscriber numbers are not publicly known, it seems unlikely that “OANN Live” will make up for the financial loss of OAN’s DirecTV contract.

More importantly, OAN’s conduct since losing DirecTV -- suing its former carrier, spreading Russian propaganda, convincing viewers that not only will vaccines kill people but some of them have to die, to say nothing of its shockingly hateful anti-LGBTQ content -- should make it clear to any TV provider that this litigious, conspiratorial disaster of a channel is simply not worth the trouble.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Carlson Joins Far-Right Media To Push January 6 FBI Bomb Conspiracy

Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson and top right-wing media allies in his propaganda campaign claiming the January 6 insurrection was a false flag operation are now pushing a new set of conspiracy theories focused on the pipe bombs discovered that day outside both the Republican and Democratic national committee offices — which they want you to believe may have been planted by the FBI.

CNN and Politico reported this past January that Vice President Kamala Harris, then the vice president-elect, had to be evacuated from the DNC headquarters when a pipe bomb was discovered outside. CNN later added more to the story, revealing that Harris had been within yards of the bomb when she initially arrived at the building.

About a month after this news broke, Carlson and his compatriots in the January 6 Truth movement began to push back with unfounded conspiracies. Carlson insinuated the reports about the pipe bombs were false on the February 9 edition of his Fox show: “Now, everyone has assumed those bombs were planted by a Trump supporter. The media have told us that. But who was this person?”

During a more than eight-minute rant, Carlson suggested virtually every detail of the pipe bomb news was suspicious, including the placement of the bombs, the construction of the devices, and the facts of their discovery. He even implied it was suspicious that the bomb suspect had still not been caught. Furthermore, according to Carlson, there must be some crucial information that Kamala Harris hasn’t been talking about — and “this is not a conspiracy theory.”

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): What we can confirm is that Kamala Harris was not chased into danger on January 6 by insurrectionists. No, she was driven to danger by a government chauffeur. And then, critically, Kamala Harris hid that fact for more than a year. Why is that?

We have a right to know the answer to that question. It's not a conspiracy theory. It's an entirely legitimate question. Maybe someone could ask Kamala Harris.

Contrary to Carlson’s conspiracy theory, the FBI has publicly said that both bombs found at the DNC and RNC offices “were viable and could have been detonated, resulting in serious injury or death.” Carlson falsely claimed the bombs had been “designed to be found, not to explode” and misleadingly used quotes from police officials in 2021, who said that the bombs had potentially been meant to be a diversion to draw police away from the Capitol.

In Carlson’s telling, “the bomb couldn't have been the diversion that the Capitol Police Department said it was” unless the person planting it knew beforehand that Harris would be at the DNC. Carlson never mentioned, however, that a bomb was also found at the RNC office — a place Harris obviously would never have been in the first place — but such a fact would interfere with his own narrative. He also never acknowledged that the would-be bomber didn’t even need to have been targeting anyone specifically, and could simply have been targeting whichever people happened to be at either of those respective national headquarters that day.

A few days after Carlson delivered this monologue, his right-wing compatriot Julie Kelly published her own piece declaring the bombs were an FBI-perpetrated hoax. Her February 14 post to the right-wing website American Greatness declared “No one still trying to convince the public that two pipe bombs were planted near the Capitol in advance of January 6 can be believed.” Kelly’s post also dabbled in a number of other conspiracy theories that Carlson and his allies have pushed about January 6, including the purported involvement of Arizona man Ray Epps and claims that the storming of the Capitol involved a “still-unknown number of FBI informants.”

Kelly also appeared Wednesday, February 16 on One America News, where host Kara McKinney claimed “we have the makings of yet another hoax perpetrated by the FBI.” Kelly, in turn, falsely declared, “The FBI is not trustworthy. It is wholly an enforcement arm, a surveillance arm of the Democratic Party.”

Kelly had been working for months on this false-flag story. In November 2021, she wrote “So a fleet of bomb-squad trucks just happened to be on the east side of the Capitol complex, which happens to be the location of both the RNC and DNC headquarters, at exactly the same time a device is found?” (Emphasis in original.)

Keep in mind that such security services would have been in place near the Capitol, because there were certainly reasons for police to be on high alert for possible trouble on the date of January 6, a day that culminated in a mob of insurrectionists storming the Capitol to interrupt the presidential transition in an attempt to overthrow the government. Of course, the denial of this obvious fact is what the efforts by Carlson, Kelly, and key players on the far right is really all about. (And it’s also not any kind of magical coincidence that both the DNC and RNC normally have their offices right near the Capitol, which is the most obvious location for them in the first place.)

In the weeks in between the CNN and Politico reports, and then Carlson’s segment, Kelly posted a number of tweets about the bomb plotline, connecting it to what she falsely claims was a government-fomented breach of the Capitol.

Kelly also publicly applauded Carlson’s February 9 segment, and did some further promotion of the conspiracy theory in the days until her own post went live. For example, she seemingly branched out into yet another false-flag claim about an act of right-wing political violence from years ago — perhaps as a way of rhetorically planning ahead for any future arrest in the pipe bombs case:

screen grab



Cesar Sayoc is the so-called “MAGA Bomber,” who was arrested in October 2018 and pleaded guilty in March 2019 for sending mail bombs to a variety of liberal political figures including Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George Soros, multiple members of Congress, actor Robert De Niro, and the CNN offices in both Atlanta and New York City. At his sentencing, Sayoc attributed his crimes in part to mental illness and decades of steroid abuse, also describing his political obsession with then-President Donald Trump as “this new found fun drug.” Sayoc was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and currently has a projected release date in November 2035.

At the time of Sayoc’s arrest, a number of right-wing media figures spread claims that the entire incident had been a false flag, on the grounds that Sayoc’s van — which was covered in pro-Trump stickers — purportedly looked too new and not sufficiently worn down for him to have been a real Trump supporter.

Right-wing commentators like Kelly and Carlson are now going back to this familiar well, insisting that right-wing political violence is never genuine and must be an elaborate hoax.

DirecTV Blackout May Ruin Far-Right One America News Channel

By John Shiffman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The largest satellite provider in the United States said late Friday it will drop One America News, a move that could financially cripple the right-wing TV network known for fueling conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

The announcement by DirecTV, which is 70 percent owned by AT&T, comes three months after a Reuters investigation revealed that OAN’s founder testified that AT&T inspired him to create the network. Court testimony also showed that OAN receives nearly all of its revenue from DirecTV.

The Reuters report drew calls from some liberal groups for AT&T and DirecTV to drop OAN, a favorite of former President Donald Trump, because the network has become a key source of false claims about the election and COVID vaccinations.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden said COVID conspiracy theories are putting lives at risk. “I make a special appeal to social media companies and media outlets: Please deal with the misinformation and disinformation that’s on your shows,” Biden said. “It has to stop.”

OAN is owned by San Diego-based Herring Networks, a family of conservative tech entrepreneurs. CEO Robert Herring Sr did not respond to requests for comment by email and phone. In an interview with Reuters last year, he said his network provided an important voice. “If I think I’m right, I just go for it,” he said.

DirecTV, with approximately 15 million subscribers, is by far OAN’s largest carrier. According to testimony by OAN’s accountant reviewed by Reuters, DirecTV provided 90 percent of the conservative network’s revenue.

“We informed Herring Networks that, following a routine internal review, we do not plan to enter into a new contract when our current agreement expires,” DirecTV said in a statement.

The OAN-DirecTV contract is set to expire in the next several months. DirecTV began airing OAN in April 2017, a deal that began shortly after OAN and AT&T settled a lawsuit over alleged oral promises during negotiations.

On Twitter, some conservatives expressed outrage that DirecTV and AT&T planned to drop OAN. “Corporate Media is crushing what little dissent remains,” tweeted former Fox News host Lou Dobbs.

The pro-Trump right, however, has powerful outlets on television and online, including Fox News, the conservative cable news outlet founded by Rupert Murdoch.

Liberals cheered the news. NAACP President Derrick Johnson called it “a victory for us and the future of democracy.” In a statement, Johnson added: “At a time when we are seeing our rights infringed upon, OAN only seeks to create further division. … We must continually choose truth over lies and common sense over hysteria.”

The news also follows a lawsuit filed on December 23 by two Georgia election workers who accused OAN and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani of spreading false vote-rigging claims about them in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. The claims were debunked by state authorities. OAN has denied it has done anything wrong.

DirecTV did not elaborate on why it planned to drop OAN. Earlier, an AT&T spokesman said the company airs “many news channels that offer viewpoints across the political spectrum.”

The Reuters investigative report in October cited sworn statements in which OAN’s founder and his son testified that the inspiration for the conservative network came from AT&T executives.

“They told us they wanted a conservative network,” the elder Herring said during a 2019 deposition. “They only had one, which was Fox News, and they had seven others on the other [left-wing] side. When they said that, I jumped to it and built one.”

During a 2020 court proceeding, a transcript shows, an OAN lawyer told the court, “If Herring Networks, for instance, was to lose or not be renewed on DirecTV, the company would go out of business tomorrow.”

(Reporting by John Shiffman. Additional reporting by Jason Szep. Editing by Ronnie Greene)

Right-Wing Media Won’t Stop Lying About Afghan ‘Hanged’ From Chopper


Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Multiple right-wing media figures, outlets, and social media users falsely claimed that a viral video showing a man in Afghanistan suspended from a helicopter was an execution by the Taliban. Other footage of the flight showed the man alive and well, and reportedly he was attempting to fix a flag.

This narrative is just one example of multiple falsehoods spread by conservatives to attack President Joe Biden following his decision to withdraw U.S. military forces from Afghanistan.

As Media Matters previously wrote, Fox News host Sean Hannity aired the footage on the August 31 edition of Fox News' Hannity, falsely claiming it showed the Taliban dangling a hanged man from a Black Hawk helicopter in Afghanistan. But Hannity's claim had been debunked before his show aired.

Conservative media personalities and politicians — including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) — also repeated the false claim on Twitter, using it to criticize the Biden administration's decision to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Cruz later deleted his tweet, writing that the information in it "may be inaccurate."

A tweet by Rep. Jason Smith that reads "On the day that we see innocent people hanging from an American helicopter, the Biden Administration decides to pull out early leaving behind hundreds of Americans and even more innocents to die at the hands of the Taliban. It's unacceptable and heartbreaking."

A Fox anchor along with multiple contributors and guests have also engaged with the false claim, as have other right-wing cable channels like One America News Network and Newsmax, other media organizations and users on fringe social media platforms.

Fox News and Fox Business

  • On August 30, a day before Hannity himself pushed this lie, Hannity guest Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) said that "we had a video today of one of our Blackhawk helicopters with somebody hanging from it as it moves through the sky."
  • Also on August 30, guest Elliot Ackerman said on The Ingraham Angle that "we just saw the Taliban flying a Blackhawk helicopter above Kandahar with a dead body hanging from its bottom."
  • On August 30, Fox Business guest Stephen Yates said: "We have today the Taliban hanging someone from a helicopter."
  • On August 31, Fox Business guest Sam Brown said, "We're seeing the reality of the Taliban now flying Blackhawk helicopters over Kabul, hanging their enemy."
  • Later the same day, Fox contributor Katie Pavlich said on The Five, "They are hanging people from our helicopters." Pavlich repeated this later in the show, saying the Taliban have "been using" weapons left behind "to execute our allies who helped us on the ground. … They hung a guy with a helicopter."
  • That evening, Fox Business anchor David Asman was discussing the helicopters U.S. forces left behind and said: "At least one was used yesterday in horrific fashion to hang a human being. We don't know the circumstances of that. We don't know who that person was that was hanging from the helicopter. But in one of the typically sick dimension of the way that these -- the Taliban think, or whoever was piloting that helicopter, that's how they used it."
  • And on September 1, Fox News contributor Charles Hurt said on Fox Business, "The image of our Blackhawk helicopter flying around Kabul with the body of what appears to be a dead person hanging from the bottom of it -- those images get seared into people's minds, and they never forget it."

Newsmax

  • On the August 31 edition of the morning show Wake Up America, Newsmax's Alex Kraemer showed and read a tweet claiming that the Taliban "are now hanging innocent civilians from [helicopters] for the world to see." Later in the show, co-host Rob Finnertysaid: "We saw someone hanging from a helicopter on video. This person was dead."
  • During Newsmax's August 31 midday show John Bachman Now, the host said there are "U.S. Blackhawks reportedly being flown by the Taliban with people hanging from them."
  • Later that day on American Agenda, Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield said the Taliban were "flying people hanging from Blackhawk helicopters yesterday." Later in the show, former Trump spokesperson Jason Miller referenced people in Kabul risking being "flown around the city hanging by their neck off of a helicopter."
  • On September 1, Finnerty repeated this lie on Wake Up America, saying: "We saw somebody hanging from a U.S. military helicopter over Kabul just a couple of days ago."

One America News Network

  • On August 31, the host of OAN's In Focus with Stephanie Hamill said: "There's video circulating online of them in an American helicopter with a man hanging by his neck off of the helicopter." Her guest, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), replied: "That's sick. That is sick."
  • Later on Real America, host Dan Ball previewed the video he claimed shows "the Taliban flying one of our Blackhawk choppers in Kandahar with a body hanging from it" with a long-winded warning about graphic content. He added: "Now, have we vetted it all out? Can I confirm it happened yesterday? I don't know when it happened. It's all over the web. It's from Kandahar. I can't read what that says, but we're getting this from multiple sources of folks that were there on the ground. They confirm it's one of our choppers, they confirm it's from Afghanistan. I don't know who's hanging there, but -- you want to see this stuff come over here? And I'm not trying to fearmonger one bit. I'm keeping it real, folks."

Other right-wing outlets and social media

  • On August 30, Gateway Pundit shared a screenshot of the video on its website along with tweets containing versions of the video, incorrectly claiming that "today the Islamists used US helicopters to hang 'traitors' in Kandahar Afghanistan" and argued that the Taliban was "openly mocking" the U.S.
  • On August 31, the New York Post published the video on its website along with an article that said "it is not immediately clear exactly how [the person in the video] is attached or if he is alive." The piece then quoted "some journalists" who it says "insisted that it showed someone who had been hanged — and then paraded in the skies."
  • The video of the helicopter and screenshots from the video also spread on several fringe right-wing social media platforms between August 30 and September 1, including Gab, 4chan, and Patriots.win. This content was also shared widely among right-wing users on the messaging app Telegram. Many of these posts criticized the Biden administration, with one Patriots.win user claiming, falsely, that the Taliban was "flying [a] Biden-provided Blackhawk helicopter…while hanging someone from it." This post quoted a tweet stating that "it's an absolute shitfest to see the Taliban now actually flying US BlackHawk helicopters, hanging people by the throat from them!! The American President will never be forgiven for this!!"
Research contributions from Leo Fernandez and Bobby Lewis

Stop Calling The Arizona Recount Charade An ‘Audit’

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

Now in its seventh week, the pointless review of two million ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona's most populous outpost, has not only emerged as a dishonest, partisan circus, it's also a blueprint for how right-wing conspiracists want to treat future GOP election losses. Along the way, they're deliberately destroying faith in the democratic process.

As the "fraudits" spread to other states, and as it becomes clear that hard-core Republican fanatics will stop at nothing in their pursuit of overturning the 2020 election, it's imperative the press undertake a course correction and stop calling these partisan sham events "audits." They're not going away and the press needs a better, more exact way to describe them. By adopting GOP "audit" language, journalists are doing the right wing's bidding and undermining confidence in U.S. elections.

Once again, the GOP's radical and dangerous behavior in the age of Trump ought to prompt news outlets to change the language they use to cover American politics. There is no precedent for a former U.S. president to barnstorm the country insisting his election loss was fraudulent and claiming "Indians" were paid to vote in 2020. And there's no precedent for the mockery that's being made out of ballot-counting in Arizona, a charade that even local Republican election officials have dismissed as a "grift disguised as an audit."

The question is, how does the media cover the Grand Canyon State's slow-motion train wreck? By using "audit" without including qualifiers, such as "so-called," "alleged," or "absurd," the press lends an undeserved air of legitimacy to the clown proceedings. The language use becomes especially problematic when "audit" is deployed in headlines, which is what most people end up reading, instead of the body of the article. A New York Times front-page, print headline yesterday read, "Arizona's Vote Audit Is Scorned. Republicans Press On, Anyway."

On Twitter, Washington Post editors were promoting an article about "the national push by Trump allies to audit 2020 ballots." (The Post constantly refers to the disinformation campaign as an "audit.")

For casual news consumers, the assumption is that Republicans are simply conducting an audit of the votes, and may start doing them in other states. And what's wrong with an "audit," right? "Audit" sounds serious and precise.

By contrast, NPR took a smart approach with a recent headline, putting the word in quotation marks to signal the dubious nature of the Arizona sham: "Experts Call It A 'Clown Show' But Arizona 'Audit' Is A Disinformation Blueprint." And a recent CNN report referred to the Arizona effort as a "so-called audit" and a "partisan ballot review."

Another good description for the ongoing shenanigans might be an "unofficial review," since the ballot exercise carries no legal weight and cannot change the vote outcome. "Partisan inquisition" is also an accurate offering, as well as "boondoggle," "charade," "farce," and "sham." Using those terms means journalists would have to stand up to Republicans and not be afraid of "liberal media bias" cries that would certainly follow.

The truth is, "Most certified auditors contacted by The Arizona Republic, including accountants, internal auditors, and forensic auditors, say this is not an audit," the state's largest recently newspaper reported.

The ongoing process in the Southwest clearly fails to meet any of the standards required for official recounts or audits by state law. With financial support from My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell and a nonprofit set up by a reporter for One America News Network, which has been given exclusive access to livestream from the audit site, Arizona partisans have reportedly scanned ballots with UV lights to look for secret watermarks that fanatics think Trump's Department of Homeland Security placed on legitimate ballots to differentiate them from fake ones. They're also inspecting ballots for traces of bamboo to determine if they were snuck into to the country from Asia.

Note that a legitimate post-election audit of Maricopa County was conducted one week after last year's election. That is to say, a multiparty audit board conducted a hand count of ballots from a sample of randomly selected voting precincts and compared them with the results from voting machines. For Arizona's largest county, the audit uncovered not a single ballot discrepancy. The county also hired two separate, independent firms to perform a forensic audit of the voting equipment used and found nothing amiss.

What's happening in Arizona is not a recount, either. Recounts typically occur when there's an infinitesimal margin of victory, but Joe Biden won Arizona by 10,000 votes. "In the recount and audit space, 1,000 votes is, for all intents and purposes, a landslide," David Becker, the executive director of the nonpartisan nonprofit Center for Election Innovation & Research, told FiveThirtyEight. "A margin of 10,000 votes is an off-the-charts landslide" for a recount.

The Arizona ballot charade is a perfect example of conservative extremists trying to create their own reality and their own set of facts, and hoping the mainstream media helps them by adopting misleading language, like an Arizona "audit."