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Russia has taken a liking to one far-right American outlet in particular

The One America News Network seems to have fans in Moscow.

After defending Assad, the One America News Network finds support in Russia. CREDIT: GETTY / DAVID MCNEW
After defending Assad, the One America News Network finds support in Russia. CREDIT: GETTY / DAVID MCNEW

The One America News Network (OANN), a vociferously far-right, pro-Trump media outlet, may not have anywhere near the same audience as outlets like Fox News or CNN. But it has at least one fan: Russia.

After OANN ran a report earlier this week defending the Syrian government against claims that it had used chemical weapons on its citizens — a stance shared by both Russian and Iranian authorities — the Twitter feed for the Russian embassy in South Africa, one of Moscow’s most prominent Twitter accounts, promoted OANN’s findings.

The Russian feed praised the work of OANN’s Pearson Sharp, claiming that OANN’s report shows that “there is still real journalism in the US.”

The Russian embassy made sure to specifically alert others to OANN’s coverage, including notorious conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter Alex Jones. (It’s not the first time the Russian embassy has tagged Jones, and the feed has a habit of tagging other employees of Jones’ InfoWars conspiracy site.)

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Jones described the attack as a “false flag event” designed to smear Assad. Other white supremacists, like Richard Spencer and David Duke, have also come to Assad’s defense following his regime’s alleged chemical attack.

In his report, organized by a Syrian “government escort,” OANN’s Sharp claimed that no one in the city of Douma “said they had seen or heard anything about a chemical attack on that day.” Sharp also claimed there were concerns those who said they were victims of chemical attacks were “plants,” and that the chemical attack was actually perpetrated by those opposing Assad.

As ThinkProgress’ Melanie Schmitz wrote:

Despite stating that his report is “not propaganda,” for instance, much of what Sharp relays is based on information passed to him during a visit arranged by Syrian government forces, which have traditionally relied on mass disinformation campaigns in the wake of deadly attacks to twist the narrative in their favor… At no point does OANN try to mask the pro-Assad language peppering the report. At one point, Sharp even goes so far as to say that “the [residents say they] were incredibly grateful that President Assad had liberated the town; they were completely in support of President Assad.”

OANN’s reporting generally revolves around pro-Trump conspiracies and conspiracy theorists, from pushing claims that the DNC hacks were an “inside job” to hiring noted Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec. But such credentials appeared to help it gain access to the greater Douma area — even while actual chemical weapons experts are prevented from accessing the site, coming under fire when they try.

This article has been updated to clarify that Sharp visited ground zero, where the reported attack took place.