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"We're not Nazis," a One America News producer told the New York Times. "Just, like, everyday people." Because if you think about it, the real victims here are the poor OAN staffers, cruelly misjudged when they're just following orders.

In this case, those orders come from the network fuhrer himself, Charles Herring, the owner of OAN, who insists his employees scrape up all the sticky bits from floors of wingnut chat rooms and call it "news."

Times reporter Rachel Abrams writes:

Assignments that the elder Mr. Herring takes a special interest in are known among OAN staff as "H stories," several current and former employees said. The day after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, Mr. Herring instructed OAN employees in an email, which The New York Times reviewed, to "report all the things Antifa did yesterday."

That would be a short report, since Antifa did nothing on January 6 when Trump's maniac supporters were sacking the seat of government.


But it gets better! Some "H stories" are crafted by Kristian Rouz, a former correspondent for Sputnik, the media outlet explicitly backed by the Russian government. Rouz has voiced support for QAnon, suggested that Hillary Clinton is funding Antifa, and endorsed the Plandemic lunacy about George Soros, Bill Gates, and Hillary Clinton creating the coronavirus as part of a "globalist conspiracy to establish sweeping population control."

Rouz tried and failed to get $10 million from Rachel Maddow and MSNBC for "defaming" him by suggesting that he was "on the payroll for the Kremlin."

Allysia Britton, a former OAN news producer, recalls trying to check the sourcing on a Rouz story and finding herself in the wingnut comment section. "It literally took me to this chat room where it's just conservatives commenting toward each other," she told the Times.

Nevertheless, Herring continues to support Rouz's questionable work.

In an email to staff last month, [Lindsay] Oakley, the news director, warned producers against ignoring or playing down Mr. Rouz's work. "His stories should be considered 'H stories' and treated as such," she wrote in the email, which The Times reviewed. "These stories are often slugged and copy-edited by ME as per Mr. H's instructions."

Oakley has reportedly castigated OAN employees for referring to "President Biden," because reality should have nothing to do with their "journalism."

OAN has consistently supported the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen due to vote fraud, pouring poison into the minds of millions of television viewers and YouTube subscribers. But sources were quick to assure the Times that they don't actually believe the shit they pump out day after day.

During the Trump presidency, it moved right, [OAN producer Marty] Golingan said. And when he was watching coverage of the pro-Trump mob breaking into the Capitol, he said, he worried that his work might have helped inspire the attack.

He added that he and others at OAN disagreed with much of the channel's coverage. "The majority of people did not believe the voter fraud claims being run on the air," Mr. Golingan said in an interview, referring to his colleagues.

He recalled seeing a photo of someone in the Capitol mob holding a flag emblazoned with the OAN logo. "I was like, OK, that's not good," Mr. Golingan said. "That's what happens when people listen to us."

Indeed, this is "what happens when people listen" to OAN, and it was "not good."

Look, we've all had bad takes, but if your shit reporting gets people killed, what bloody difference does it make whether you believed it or not? Those people are still dead, and millions of Americans still believe the Big Lie.

And if your job requires you to constantly explain that you're not a Nazi, maybe it's time to seriously examine your life choices.

[NYT]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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