According to a report in the Daily Beast, former employees of the One America News Network — which has become a staple of Donald Trump’s TV news diet — describe a dysfunctional news network filled with a desire to promote conspiracy rumors, hit pieces on politicians — all helmed by a millionaire owner who loves the president and Vladimir Putin in equal amounts.
The report notes that OANN — which was the launching pad for Fox News’ Tomi Lahren’s career — is nestled in San Diego where one staffer freely admitted, “Yeah, we like Russia here.”
According to the Beast, 77-year-old millionaire Robert Herring Sr., is the founder of the network, “launched in 2013 as an answer to the chatty, opinionated content of mainstream cable news channels—and a place for viewers too conservative for Fox News.”
Like Fox, the network is also a hotbed of controversy and employees –including anchors — leaving over squabbles with the ownership in what is described as a hellish atmosphere.
“It was a really bad chapter in my life,” one former OANN anchor -who didn;t want to be identified — confided. “There were lots of afternoons where I would just sit in the car and cry. I didn’t understand why they were doing what they were doing.”
Other former employees detailed the networks deepening spiral into more and more red meat conspiracy theories for their overwhelmingly right-wing audience.
“One of the things I did when I was there is go through all these conspiracies he [Herring] was reading on crazy blog sites and tell him why we can’t report it,” one former employee recalled, with another former anchor adding, “It was just an old guy with a bunch of conspiracy theory stories and we had to write it. They were known as ‘H stories.’ If there was story that was unbelievably ridiculous, it was an H story.”According to another staffer, Herring has quite a love affair with Vladimir Putin.
“If you noticed, the far right wing likes Russia,” Ernest Champell explained. “Why? Because Russia’s an all-white country that suppresses Muslims and all that kind of stuff. They wish America was like that, so it all makes sense.”
“Mr. Herring just genuinely is kind of enamored of Putin. He thinks that Putin is a strong guy who does whatever he wants. Mr. Herring will get into the celebrity status of wealthy powerful men, and I think Putin is one of them,” another staffer added, with the Beast noting employees are told to lavish praise on Trump too.
“If OANN is all about getting Donald Trump’s attention, it’s finally working. After snubbing the network for two years in his frequent media-focused tweet storms, Trump is now mentioning the channel regularly. In a tweet on Monday, he congratulated the network ‘on the great job you are doing and the big ratings jump’,” the reports states
“I bet that just makes Mr Herring so happy,” said employee who left too. “That was the goal all along. He wanted to be mentioned by Donald Trump.”
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