Hoax 2.0: Now OANN is a Russian Disinformation Outlet
Well, this was inevitable, we suppose. Dreams and horrors of Vladimir Putin secretly taking over the United States gave the Democrats tons of mileage in the late-2016 election and the subsequent years of the Trump administration, so why wouldn’t they roll out this hoary old story for Round 2? Never mind that the Mueller Report concluded that most of what the Democrats were talking about was complete fiction. Never mind that Putin’s big attempt to dismantle American democracy amounted to some hacked emails. Never mind all of that. No, Russian meddling is totally a huge deal and we should all be very, very afraid.
We’re kicking things off this year with a story about One America News Network, an ascendant, conservative-leaning outlet that has designs on becoming the new Fox News. They reported this week that there are newly-obtained recordings of then-Vice President Joe Biden in which the now-Democratic presidential candidate is heard dangling the possibility of additional U.S. funding if Ukrainian officials will just fire that pesky prosecutor who is investigating Burisma energy. Burisma, you’ll recall, employed Biden’s son Hunter at the time.
According to The Atlantic, this is just proof that OAN is willing to spread Putin’s propaganda:
If such recordings exist, they’re likely linked to pro-Russian interests in Ukraine and a Russian intelligence operation, two former U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine and a former ambassador to Russia told me. The OAN employee who claims to have the tapes would not say what was on them, other than suggesting that they will be revelatory.
What is most remarkable here is that none of this is particularly surprising. Russian interference in the 2016 election has been closely studied over the past four years, and America’s vulnerabilities have only worsened in that time. As my colleague Franklin Foer wrote recently, “Russia’s interference in 2016 might be remembered as the experimental prelude that foreshadowed the attack of 2020.” That OAN is now a player in such interference suggests an escalation that the Biden campaign has been bracing for.
One, it’s endlessly amusing that Democrats and their media allies continue to assert that there’s no evidence that Biden’s interests in getting rid of the Burisma prosecutor had anything to do with his son’s cushy job. If there’s no evidence for that, then there’s even less evidence that President Trump was only interested in cracking down on Ukrainian corruption for the sake of getting dirt on Biden. Somehow or another, the left has managed to turn one into an innocent act of patriotism and the other into an impeachable offense. Remarkable.
Secondly, have you noticed how the extent of Russia’s attempts to “meddle” in our elections amounts to showing the public exactly what prominent Democrats say when they think no one is listening? The same media that can’t wait to publish all of their front-page stories about this Republican or that one “getting caught” saying something controversial behind closed doors suddenly believe it’s “an act of war” for Democrats to be exposed by their own wagging tongues.
So yeah, OAN is the newest wing of the Moscow Propaganda Agency. We’re sure Adam Schiff is maniacally rubbing his palms together as we speak.