OANN's Battle Against Fox News Appears to Have Gone too Far

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

It’s not a secret that many conservatives have qualms about Fox News. That’s not to say their primetime lineup isn’t still largely appealing, specifically Tucker Carlson’s top-rated show, but past editorial and hiring decisions have left some scratching their heads.

In that current media environment, conservative alternatives like Newsmax and One American News Network have emerged, with the former gaining the most success recently. Meanwhile, OANN is battling behind the scenes to gain an advantage over Fox News, but they may have pushed things too far, if a new report is any indication.

According to The Washington Free Beacon, OANN has been lobbying, openly at times, for the confirmation of Gigi Sohn to the FCC. The Biden nominee is an absolute radical, having called conservative news outlets “threats to democracy.”

One America News Network (OANN) is working behind the scenes to rally conservative support for Gigi Sohn, President Joe Biden’s latest pick to serve on the Federal Communications Commission. Conservative political operative Bradley Blakeman told the Washington Free Beacon that OANN’s president personally arranged for him to appear in a pro-Sohn segment on the network and that OANN executives believe Sohn will be an ally in the network’s fight to wrest market share away from Fox News.

The belief is rooted in Sohn’s criticism of Fox News. Sohn has questioned whether Fox News should be investigated for being “state-sponsored propaganda with few if any opposing viewpoints.” Fox News and OANN compete for many of the same viewers, and former president Donald Trump encouraged his voters to leave Fox News for OANN or right-wing outlet Newsmax.

To be clear, this is not based on anonymous supposition. OANN’s president, Charles Herring, publicly announced his support for Sohn last week. As noted above, Herring also personally arranged for Bradley Blakeman, described as a former George W. Bush adviser, to appear on the network to lobby for Sohn.

OANN’s belief that Sohn would be good for business constitutes a tangled web of bad logic, in my opinion. Yes, Sohn has targeted Fox News and has seemingly stuck up for smaller content providers in the past, but I’m pretty sure that the kind of “diversity” she wants doesn’t include more of what OANN provides. This feels a heck of a lot like making a deal with the devil, operating under the delusion that they won’t eventually get burned. In some unlikely reality where OANN picks up major market share from Fox News, OANN would then turn into a primary target.

As has been made clear by her past statements and action, Sohn is a partisan warrior with highly ideological goals. Those include destroying the ability of conservatives to disseminate information. To the extent that she’s sided with OANN in the past, it’s been out of expediency in an effort to stop the growth of conservative media. The moment it helps her to turn on OANN, she will do so. Herring is incredibly deluded to believe she’d be an ally.

Here’s my final thought: It’s one thing to be competitive, but it’s another thing to openly support an awful, dangerous nominee for selfish, naive reasons. If OANN wants to battle Fox News in the arena of ideas, more power to them. But they’ve gone too far here, and in the end, I think it’s going to hurt their credibility.