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03.14.13

One America News Network, New Conservative Cable Channel, Sets Launch

Soon Rupert Murdoch’s behemoth won’t be the only conservative cable news station around, the founder of One America News Network, set to be unveiled at CPAC today, tells David Freedlander.

A new right-wing news and talk station is coming to cable boxes later this year, The Daily Beast has learned.

The station, called One America News Network, is slated to announce its launch formally at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual gathering of conservatives, in Washington on Thursday.

The new network is a production of Herring Broadcasting, the San Diego-based company behind Wealth TV, a channel dedicated to appealing to and documenting the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

One America News Network, on the other hand, has a two-tier mission: providing opinion-free straight news reporting and right-leaning talk shows.

“It is getting really hard to find just the reliable, credible, fact-based news with substance,” said Charles Herring, president of Herring Broadcasting, in an interview from CPAC, where he was setting up for the announcement. “The second component is to provide a platform where more voices can be heard, voices that are ignored, libertarian and conservative voices.”

There is, of course, a rather prominent cable news network that already does such a thing, promising to report and let you decide. But Herring said Fox News is not as conservative as its liberal counterpart, MSNBC, is liberal, and that either way, Fox is a lone conservative voice in a wilderness of left-leaning outlets.

“Fox is a great platform,” he said. “A lot of people like it, it gets outstanding ratings. There is nothing wrong with Fox. The problem is that if you take the channel lineup, the sources of national news tend to lean to the left…and all we have is Fox.”

Herring said his network also would provide a platform for a broader spectrum of voices on the right than Fox now offers.

“With only one outlet, if you happen to be an independent or a libertarian, or you are on the outside, you only have one platform right now, which is Fox,” he said. “There just isn’t enough time in the day to have those voices heard. I see us as opening up another front, another platform.”

The core of the effort, however, will be in straight reporting of the type that Herring says is nearly extinct on cable television today.

“The news used to be you would confirm your source multiple times, you would report the fact, and you would leave it up to the viewer to determine what we should or should not do. That is missing,” he said.

“Cable networks, many of them, have blurred the line between delivering the news and information and delivering the personal views of the host,” he added. “Nothing wrong with either one, but we just believe that they should be separated, and we are going to do that.”

“There just isn’t enough time in the day to have those voices heard. I see us as opening up another front, another platform.”

Herring said the company is preparing to pour tens of millions of dollars into the network and hiring for about news positions in a new Washington, D.C., office that will open in the Washington Times building. The network hopes to put reporters from the right-leaning daily on air regularly, he said. On board already to host opinion programs are Rick Amato, a Tea Party-aligned talk show host, and Gina Loudon, who describes herself as the “originator of the field of Policology, the nexus of politics and psychology.” Graham Ledger, an anchor at Wealth TV, will host a show called The Daily Ledger, which according to the network’s bare-bones website, “looks at the top stories through a Constitutional prism, while refusing to embrace the mainstream media’s and pop culture’s knee-jerk, low-information response and spin to current events.”

Still, Wealth TV appears to be an unlikely mothership for a new news network. It now broadcasts such shows as Mediterranean Mega Yachts and Boys Toys, about muscle cars and high-end tech gadgets. Another, Party Mamas, is described as a “jam-packed, nerve-filled, triple-latte-paced ride through the lives of outrageous and energetic mothers who pull out all the stops to throw ‘the best party ever for their little darlings.’”

But the Herring family has waded into political controversy before. In 2005, Robert Herring—Charles’s father, and the company’s CEO—offered the husband of Terri Schiavo $1 million if he would transfer the guardian rights of his brain-damaged wife over to her parents.

For One America News Network, the tagline will be “Your Nation, Your News,” and the target audience will be, according to Herring, “a little more educated, looking for substance with their news.” He said he hopes that even the opinion shows will offer a more somber tone than one now found on cable.

“We are really looking for a more substantive debate,” he said. “Why does somebody believe what they believe? No yelling, no shouting, no asking one question trying to define a subject, but really trying to get down to the core of why people believe what they believe. Having people express their views make them think more.”