A far-right news organization that borders on producing questionable content, according to fact-checking websites, has been barred for the time being from White House press briefings due to breaking rules set forth by the White House Correspondents’ Association.
Due to social distancing rules regarding the spread of coronavirus, the WHCA has deemed that only a small set of journalists each day can take part in the briefings, limiting those inside the room asking questions to the president and his task force to large networks and a rotating roster of smaller news groups.
Among those smaller organizations is One America News Network (OANN). On Tuesday, correspondent Chanel Rion asked President Donald Trump a softball question regarding an untested drug he believes will be a game-changer in the fight against COVID-19. Rion again appeared in the briefing on Wednesday.
Aside from appearing two days in a row when the smaller news organizations are supposed to take turns, Rion also broke the rules for a second reason: she wasn’t scheduled to be in the room on either of the two days.
Because she broke the rules, WHCA President Jonathan Karl told the Washington Post, OANN wouldn’t be allowed to participate in future briefings, period.
“The rules are clear. If you don’t have a seat in the briefing room on your given day, you cannot be there,” Karl explained.
Karl elaborated that the rules had a purpose: to keep journalists healthy amid a pandemic.
“The rules are established to protect the health of the White House press corps. We’re abiding by the [Centers for Disease Control’s] guidelines.”
OANN appears to believe that they’re not beholden to the rules of the WHCA. Based on their previous work, they also appear to think they don’t have to follow basic journalism ethics.
According to fact-checking site Media Bias/Fact Check, OANN has pushed “right wing conspiracies” including alleging the Seth Rich murder was orchestrated by the Hillary Clinton campaign for president. In many of its articles online, OANN doesn’t “offer sourcing at all” for its alleged claims, and often uses loaded language in its headlines.
“OANN is one failed fact check away from moving to the Questionable Source list,” the site said — a distinction that puts it in the same territory of accuracy as Infowars.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Trump has sung the praises of the news network in the past, including issuing out a tweet in October during the impeachment inquiry.
“Thank you to One America News for your fair coverage and brilliant reporting. It is appreciated by many people trying so hard to find a new, consistent and powerful VOICE!” Trump wrote.
In addition to the Seth Rich conspiracy theory, OANN has attacked those who have alleged Roy Moore sexually abused them, wrongly reported that California’s gay conversion ban would also ban Bibles, and errantly claimed that terrorism from “radical” adherents of Islam was responsible for a rise in crime in the United Kingdom.
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Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.