What is OAN? Before the past couple months, you may or may not have heard of One America News (OAN), which John Oliver described last night as yet another Fox News-wannabe network content to spew out ridiculous far-right propaganda (like that transgender penguins are part of a "radical leftist plot" to destroy the family unit). You may now be familiar with OAN because President Donald Trump has taken to complimenting them for their favorable coverage of him regularly on Twitter—and in recent weeks since the coronavirus crisis began, that mutual appreciation between Trump and OAN has only gotten more pronounced. And along with it has come a new level of misinformation that could be putting people's lives in danger.
"I know it is easy to dismiss OAN as just a stupid, little-watched borderline self-parody," Oliver said. "The problem is, if we're learning one thing right now, it's that toxic things that start small can get big fast, and it's dangerous to ignore them. And right now, the president is putting a lot of energy into boosting OAN's profile right now."
In the segment below, Oliver gives an introduction to some of OAN's personalities, and explains how OAN has either promoted faulty information about the virus, told viewers to defy the government's advice about social distancing, or ignored journalistic etiquette to further praise the president in the White House briefing room.
“The kind of misinformation OAN is spewing right now could end up getting people killed, and sadly their message is being actively spread by the White House," Oliver concludes. "So it is more important than ever to be on the lookout for OAN’s bullshit and to make sure no one that you know is falling for it either.”
Elsewhere in the episode, Oliver criticized Jared Kushner—"a man who looks less like someone who could handle a global pandemic and more like an alt-right Pinocchio"—for his comments that states should not count on a federal stockpile of medical supplies.
And in case you missed it, Oliver talked to Stephen Colbert last week about recording his show from isolation.