- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2020

One America News lashed out Friday at the White House Correspondents Association in light of the right-wing cable network falling out of favor among President Trump’s press corps.

Days since being stripped of its seat in the White House briefing room, the blatantly pro-Trump outlet fired back in a video touted by OAN’s founder and chief executive officer.

“The White House Correspondents Association is holding free speech hostage,” OAN CEO Robert Herring said on Twitter where he shared the video from his personal account.

The video, a four-minute put-down aimed at the group of reporters covering the president, was released on the heels of OAN recently losing access to a coveted seat in the White House briefing room the network had shared with several other outlets.

Without mentioning OAN by name, the WHCA said last week that its board had voted to remove a news outlet from the rotation for a seat in the briefing room because a reporter for that organization had twice violated social distancing policies implemented as a result of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

The WHCA had previously asked reporters to help slow the spread of the potentially deadly coronavirus by not attending press briefings on days they are not assigned seats and to refrain from standing along the sides or in the back of the briefing room. OAN’s White House correspondent, Chanel Rion, repeatedly defied that policy before the board voted to remove the outlet from rotation and has continued to do so in the days since.

In the video response touted by the network’s CEO, fellow OAN personality Pearson Sharp alleged the WHCA is attempting to censor the outlet’s reporting under the guise of public safety.

“As OAN’s White House correspondent and increasingly one of the journalists the president trusts most for honest reporting, Chanel has become the new target for the mainstream media as they fight to keep the truth out of the briefing room,” Mr. Sharp claimed in the video.

“This is viewpoint discrimination, pure and simple. OAN won’t tell a story like they see it, and so the mainstream media and the White House Correspondents Association are doing everything in their power to shut us out,” Mr. Sharp said in the clip. “None of the other networks or reporters at the White House have had to put up with anything like this mafia level of intimidation.”

The WHCA had no immediate comment on OAN’s claims.

“In order to comply with the social distancing guidelines, and to take steps to ensure the health and safety of the press corps and White House staff, there is no room for reporters who do not have an assigned seat today, or on any given day, to be standing in the briefing room,” WHCA President and ABC News reporter John Karl said previously.

Launched in 2013, OAN regularly airs unabashedly fawning coverage of Mr. Trump and has previously boasted on Twitter of being “one of his GREATEST supporters.”

Before losing its seat in the briefing room, OAN made waves last month when Ms. Rion posed a question to the president during which she accused fellow members of the White House press corps of “siding with foreign state propaganda, Islamic radicals and Latin gangs and cartels.”

Mr. Trump has repeatedly made his appreciation for OAN known recently, meanwhile, including using his own Twitter account last week to link to the outlet’s website no fewer than four times within two minutes.

Ms. Rion has continued to attend White House press room briefings despite losing her seat, which Mr. Sharp attributed to being personally invited by the president’s press office. Mr. Trump called on her Friday afternoon from her while she stood in the back of the room in direct contradiction to the WHCA’s policies.

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