Did The Washington Post Commit Corporate Espionage? And Other Issues With Their OANN Hit-Piece

OANN News primaries
OANN Reporting on Trump

One America News Network (OANN) is a conservative-leaning cable news station. It attempts to have around four times the amount of headlines per hour as its competitors. While not available on many cable providers and in many areas, a fact the Washington Post fails to acknowledge, it’s viewership is growing, despite not even bringing in a quarter of Fox News’ viewership. The family-owned emerging cable channel tried to publicly court ousted Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, and has not succeeded there, but is on a tear and growing daily. Can this Washington Post hit piece take them down, or will it only grow OANN’s strength?

Firstly, let’s take a look at the methods in which the Washington Post got the information needed for the story. Some of the information came from the word of former employees. In journalism, relying solely on (likely disgruntled) former employees is a big no-no. Former employees tend to hold a bias, sometimes even revenge-filled view. However, simply writing up a story on what former employees told The Washington Post would have been a lot more ethically-sound than what actually transpired: internal emails were given to the Washington Post. About two were cited in full, other parts of the article talked about what the OANN internal emails implied, meaning the tone of the email could be set by the author of this article, Marc Fisher (more on him later).

Many will claim that hey, Halsey News often cites Wikileaks and Project Veritas, what is different about leaks to the Washington Post? What is different is that these aren’t leaked government documents, or emails showing illegal or abusive activity by the hierarchy at One America News. These are internal communications of a media company. Yes, The Washington Post is a media company, as is One America News Network. OANN may be on cable and The Washington Post dealing mostly in print media, but by definition they are both news media companies, even though their market shares hardly overlap. This piece is regarded to be a media analysis piece, by a “journalist” who mostly writes about media. It would be fine in my book if Marc Fisher wrote this article for someone like Mediate or a news industry-analysis outlet, but he didn’t, he wrote this for The Washington Post, who is competing with OANN.  I wouldn’t even have had this thought about internal emails being an ethical (and possibly legal) issue, until my boss Halsey English and I went back-and-forth over an article written by Mike Cernovich, breaking the Susan Rice unmasking story. Mike Cernovich’s source for the story was not someone within or formerly within the government, it was someone within the media (likely the New York Times) who was unsatisfied with their media outlet sitting on the story. Hasley English pointed out to me that Mike Cernovich, as a member of the news media seeking out/accepting leaks from other members of the news media, should lawyer up because he could get charged or civilly sued for corporate espionage or theft.  I argued with him, until I realized, he may be right. Even though we have seen no evidence of this thus far, the possibility is still open. At the very least, this is an ethical issue. I then imagined, what if someone was feeding emails and other corporate documents of Halsey News to a rival media company? Basically, if OANN could show the Washington Post is using this information to get ahead of OANN in terms of the way their business is run, they may have a case.

Another major issue with this hit-piece is that they did not reach out to major players at the network for comment. Namely, OANN’s conservative fire-brand (yes, they literally have commercials on One America News describing her as that) Liz Wheeler, host of nightly show The Tipping Point. She is basically the face of One America News, and not reaching out to her or her team for comment is a huge blunder in reporting on the growing network.

The next issue, it seems, is that the Washington Post attacked the network, without even watching it. From the ludicrous picture featured in the article (below), and the tone of the article overall, you would think that One America News is the Trump-loyal version of North Korea’s state-run media.

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Washington Post OANN article featured photo

So I decided to turn on One America News for a full day, to see if I would be indoctrinated, or if the Washington Post is wrong. As per usual, the Washington Post is wrong. One America News lives up to their goal of having more headlines than any other news channel. fast-paced, informative reporting. Their anchors do not express opinions. While some stories themselves may show bias, like reporting on the Seth Rich controversy or showing how Hungarian billionaire George Soros is funding a candidate in a Philadelphia election (or maybe that is just talking about stories the mainstream refuses to cover), we don’t have talking heads telling us their thoughts on the story before us. They are literally just reporting the news, you know, what we turn on the news for. The exception to this is two evening shows: The Daily Ledger and the aforementioned The Tipping Point. Now maybe the only news they report is positive Trump news. Right? Wrong, they are far from a Trump-propaganda network, because they barely mention Trump. They mention what is going on in the news. I would estimate two to three out of ten stories may have to do with Trump, and not all are positive, many simply reporting that this event happened/is happening involving the current administration in power. Compare that to CNN, who is absolutely obsessed with President Trump. According to the Media Research Center nearly 95% of stories CNN broadcasts are about Trump (and over 90% are negative).

Who would misreport on something so strongly? Well, it seems The Washington Post’s Marc Fisher, the author of this article. Now where have I seen his name before? Oh right, he is the one who completely misreported on our very own Stefanie MacWilliams, blaming her for the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. She wrote about it here, be sure to check out just how vile this Marc Fisher fellow is. Marc, we are watching you. We will fact-check you, we will make sure every ounce of credibility you have is stripped.