“I’ve worked on every shift now (morning, afternoon and & overnight) and can objectively say there is only one or two hardcore conservatives” in the newsroom, said one anchor via text. (The anchor’s analysis didn’t include evening opinion hosts.)
This dynamic is, according to several of the employees I spoke to, leading to tensions inside the newsroom as OAN makes headlines for its controversial coverage of coronavirus and the anti-racist protests. They said that in recent weeks they have felt everything from “horrified” to “defeated” at their own network’s reporting on the protests and are concerned that the management is pushing them towards increasingly conservative coverage angles. These employees said they feel pressured to cover angles that will protect network founder and CEO Robert Herring’s business investments…
The three other current OAN employees I spoke to, all of whom declined to be named, were much less sanguine than Salvi. They have always known a portion of the network’s journalism was overwhelmingly pro-Trump, but soldiered on, swapping gripes over drinks at the bar. During Covid and nationwide protests, though, that frustration has given way to group texts about their growing problems with the network’s coverage, which they believe has become more conspiracy-laden and lopsided. It doesn’t help that mainstream outlets have been covering every misstep.
“Once [our coronavirus coverage] started getting criticized by CNN and other outlets,” one anchor said “we all kind of just started to feel down about working here because it made us feel like all the work we were personally doing didn’t matter because all the attention on that started to drown out everything else.” This anchor was referring to Rouz’s now-deleted May 7 segment in which the coronavirus was depicted as a population control effort by China and George Soros. OAN pulled the segment after CNN and other outlets panned it.