San Diego-Based Cable Channel Aired Anti-Biden ‘Documentary’ as Part of Kremlin Campaign to Influence 2020 U.S. Election

by on March 17, 2021 · 0 comments

in Election, Media, San Diego

OANN at 4757 Morena Blvd,

A brand new, declassified intelligence assessment has come out about how Russian President Putin tried to influence the 2020 election in favor of Trump.

And part of the Kremlin campaign of disinformation that was pro-Trump and anti-Biden, was the use of un-named American “media conduits to launder their narratives to US officials and audiences,” states the report by the National Intelligence Council.

And specifically, as part of the campaign efforts, “they also made contact with established U.S. media figures and helped produce a documentary that aired on a U.S. television network in late January 2020.”

Who do you think aired that propaganda?

None other than the San Diego-based cable channel One America News Network, or OANN. Perhaps you’ve never heard of it, but ever since it was established, it has tooted Trump’s horn. In January 2020, just as the election campaign had geared up, OAN ran a one-hour of program titled “The Ukraine Hoax: Impeachment, Biden Cash, and Mass Murder with guest host Michael Caputo.”

CBS News added, “Caputo is a longtime Trump associate who was a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services. He left the job amid a controversy over remarks urging Trump supporters to prepare for armed insurrection.” CBS News

So, CBS has made the connection between OANN and the intelligence report, as has the left-leaning Mother Jones, which called OANN out in its headline. It reported:

Elements in the Russian government, including President Vladimir Putin, oversaw a bid to use outside proxies to feed disinformation to Rudy Giuliani, Fox News, and the right-wing TV network OANN aimed at helping Donald Trump against Joe Biden during the 2020 campaign, a newly declassified US intelligence report reveals.

The report— declassified Monday and released Tuesday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence— ties a series of previously reported episodes and allegations into a single sprawling effort that saw the Russian government work to influence the outcome of the 2020 election. The Russians, the report states, pushed “influence narratives—including misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden—to US media organizations, US officials, and prominent US individuals, including some close to former President Trump and his administration.”

The report seems to refer to efforts by Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, and conservative media figures at Fox News and OANN to push allegations that Biden and his son were deeply involved in political corruption in Ukraine, though Giuliani and other Americans are not specifically named. Russia’s goal was to get Trump reelected because he was viewed as a preferable alternative to Biden, the report claims. The Kremlin also hoped to undermine Americans’ confidence in the electoral process and sow political divisions, it says. In some ways, the operation built upon the well-documented efforts the Russian government used to interfere in the 2016 election. But this time, the report claims, the methods were far less technical and relied more on getting information into the national conversation and letting it go from there.

To summarize, a San Diego-based, right-wing cable channel has been a vehicle for the pro-Trump disinformation campaign ordered by Putin to influence our election in 2020. Where is OANN located?

Pardon me, but here is a quick spin on OANN from Wikipedia (footnotes omitted):

One America News Network (OANN), also known as One America News (OAN), is a far-right,  Trumpist cable channel founded by Robert Herring Sr. and owned by Herring Networks, Inc., that launched on July 4, 2013. The network is headquartered in San Diego, California, and operates news bureaus in Washington, D.C., and New York City.

Its prime-time political talk shows have a conservative perspective, and the channel has described itself as one of the “greatest supporters” of Trump. Trump himself has promoted both the network and some of its hosts.

The channel is known for promoting falsehoods and conspiracy theories. On November 24, 2020, YouTube suspended and demonetized OANN’s channel for one week as a first strike under its three-strike community guideline violation policy for advertising a false cure for COVID-19.

OANN is currently located at 4757 Morena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92117 and its public phone number is (858) 270-6900.

Here is the beginning of a great wrap-up by Ken Stone at Times of San Diego.

San Diego-based One America News Network isn’t named in a newly declassified report by the National Intelligence Council on foreign efforts to influence the 2020 election.

But that didn’t stop news media from reading between the lines and seeing the right-wing outlet.

NBC News said a passage in the 15-page report made public Tuesday linked Russian operatives to a documentary “that aired on a U.S. television network in late January 2020” and took it to mean OAN.

So did left-leaning Mother Jones, whose online headline was: “Russia Worked to Boost Trump in 2020 — With Help From Giuliani, Fox News, and OANN.”

On Jan. 21, OAN announced the debut of “The Ukraine Hoax: Impeachment, Biden Cash, and Mass Murder with guest host Michael Caputo.”

The network said: “With an impressive and long list of exclusive one-on-one interviews, Michael Caputo reports that America’s Ukraine problem didn’t start with a telephone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In fact, it started years before when America meddled in Ukraine’s elections, 130 people were assassinated – and Ukraine then interfered in our presidential elections.”

OAN founder Robert Herring didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence made several “key judgments.”

One said: “We assess that Russian President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the U.S.”

But greater public and media awareness of influence operations than in 2016 probably helped counter such efforts, the report said.

Two linked to election meddling were Russian influence agent Konstantin Kilimnik and Andriy Derkach, “a Ukrainian legislator who played a prominent role in Russia’s election influence activities,” the report said.

It continued: “Derkach, Kilimnik and their associates sought to use prominent U.S. persons and media conduits to launder their narratives to U.S. officials and audiences.”

Among other things, these Russian proxies made contact with established U.S. media figures and “helped produce a documentary that aired on a U.S. television network in late January 2020,” the report said.

Caputo was briefly a public affairs official in the Department of Health and Human Services in the Trump administration.

He also worked in the Reagan administration and helped the presidential campaign of George H. W. Bush in 1992, two years before he moved to Russia. Caputo returned to America in 2000.

Caputo says he “played a pivotal role in electing Boris Yeltsin to his second term as president of the Russian Federation.”

OAN noted that Caputo wrote a book titled: “The Ukraine Hoax: How Decades of Corruption in the Former Soviet Republic Led to Trump’s Phony Impeachment.”

For the balance of Stone’s article, please go here.

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