In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law. Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.
John Shiffman at Reuters:
On January 6, after Trump supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol, an OAN news director cautioned staff via email, “Please DO NOT say ‘Trump Supporters Storm Capitol …’ Simply call them demonstrators or protestors … DO NOT CALL IT A RIOT!!!”
A day later, Herring suggested the riot might be a false-flag operation by the leftwing Antifa movement. “We want to report all the things Antifa did yesterday. I don’t think it was Trump people but lets investigate,” he emailed OAN producers. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says there is no evidence of Antifa involvement in the riot. All but a handful of the some 600 suspects charged so far have been rightwing Trump backers.
The next day, Herring tweeted: “If anyone thinks we will throw the best President America has had, in my 79 years, under the bus, you are wrong. We will continue to give him honest coverage.”
His network went on to support Trump in an unusual way: OAN allowed two reporters to raise $605,000 to help fund a “private” audit of the presidential vote in Arizona, despite Republican officials’ assurances that Biden won the state. According to an OAN executive, they did so with the network’s blessing but in a private capacity.
One of the OAN reporters, Christina Bobb, also worked part-time for the Trump recount legal team, according to a recent deposition by Trump’s then-lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani. An OAN executive confirmed the arrangement. Bobb, a lawyer and former Trump administration official, did not reply to a request for comment.
Five former OAN producers said in interviews that they found the practice of reporters raising funds for events they cover unethical, but said OAN’s move did not surprise them.
“If there was any story involving Trump, we had to only focus on either the positive information or basically create positive information,” said Marissa Gonzales, an OAN producer from 2019 until she resigned in 2020. “It was never, never the full truth.”