Far right conservative cable channel One America News Network (OAN) produced a 30-second segment this week in which the network finally appears to admit that their previous reports on election fraud were wildly inaccurate.
The segment includes the names of two election workers in Georgia — Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and Ruby Freeman, Moss’s mother — and notes that investigations into their work during the 2020 presidential election found that they did not engage in fraudulent activities, as OAN and other media supportive of former President Donald Trump had previously suggested.
“The results of this investigation indicate that Ruby Freeman and Wandrea ‘Shaye’ Moss did not engage in ballot fraud or criminal misconduct,” a narrator says during the segment.
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The video appears to be in response to a lawsuit that was settled last month between the election workers and OAN. The details of that settlement have been kept quiet, but within the segment, the narrator notes that “a legal matter with this network and the two election workers has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties through a fair and reasonable settlement.”
Moss and Freeman had sued OAN and other media companies, as well as members of Trump’s inner circle like Rudy Giuliani, for defamation after a conspiracy theory about them spread through far right conservative circles, alleging without any evidence that they had created batches of illegal ballots and ran them through voting machines in order to help President Joe Biden win the state of Georgia. OAN had spread the conspiracy theory in its segments after the election took place.
After the settlement was reached between Moss, Freeman and OAN, Michael Gottlieb, a lawyer for the election workers, said that the two believed the agreement that was reached was “fair and reasonable.”
The damage from the conspiracy theory that OAN helped promulgate is demonstrable. Moss and Freeman were harassed online and in real life due in part to the network’s propagandizing, they said in their lawsuit.
The network’s false reports were cited by a number of high-profile individuals to allege that fraud had taken place. Trump used Freeman’s name 18 times during an infamous phone call seeking to get Georgia officials to “find” him enough votes to overturn Biden’s win. A publicist for rapper Kanye West also threatened Freeman, trying to get her to confess to committing fraud, as a result of the conspiracy theory’s spread.
There is no evidence that widespread fraud changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential race — in Georgia or elsewhere. But in spite of that fact, polling shows that a significant number of Republican voters still believe that Biden’s win was illegitimate. Meanwhile, Trump continues to lie about election fraud in public statements to this day.