Earlier this year, One America News star Dan Ball paced the halls of the newsroom with a handgun strapped to his hip, policing the MAGA channel’s San Diego headquarters after a homeless man allegedly snuck into the building, three people familiar with the situation told Confider.
A female on-air personality was visibly shaken after encountering the unauthorized visitor in the building early one morning, these sources said. “It can be kind of scary at the studio on the early morning shift when you are pretty much the only person there,” one OAN insider explained. “Especially on the weekends when you are basically there alone.”
After word of the incident spread at the network, prompting concerns about a lack of security, star host Ball, who views himself as the face of the network, went full vigilante mode. “It got to the point where Dan was walking around with his firearm downstairs like some sort of Howdy Doody, like he was going to stop someone if they came in,” another OAN insider added. “It was just way over the top. The bravado and the ego was very much what fueled it.” (While California generally prohibits open carry in public, it permits adults to lawfully carry a handgun in private business spaces.)
The lack of security personnel, which sources lamented as being limited to a front-entrance receptionist, has led employees to joke that everyone there must be strapped.
OAN president Charles Herring did not comment on Ball’s armed patrol but did dispute the claims of lax security: “One cannot enter the property without speaking on camera requesting entrance,” he wrote to Confider. “For obvious reasons, I do not wish to discuss the multiple security layers that are in place, including visible measures and non-visual measures not known to some staff.”
Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to the Confider newsletter here and have The Daily Beast media team’s stellar reporting sent straight to your inbox every Monday night.
Current and former OAN staffers who spoke with Confider suggested this incident, which occurred in the spring, typified the threadbare budget on which owner Robert Herring and his sons run the network. The Trump-boosting channel has faced extinction ever since DirecTV and other providers dropped it, costing OAN nearly all of its revenue. In recent months, the network has cut costs by closing up its Florida and New York offices and reducing its D.C. operations to a couple of staffers.
Furthermore, despite devoting much of its programming to illegal immigration, OAN staffers told Confider that ownership won’t even send reporters to the U.S.-Mexico border even though it is only 15 miles away. “‘Oh, we will just pull video from AP or Reuters,’” one ex-staffer, who recently left the company, relayed as the common reason given for no field reporting. Despite an exodus of staffers over the past few years, Charles insisted to Confider that OAN’s headcount is “slightly up” from a year ago.
Meanwhile, as current employees struggle with low wages, sometimes taking second jobs as we previously reported, the Herrings have tried to placate them by handing out $15-25 gift cards in lieu of bonuses and raises. One time, according to two former staffers, the Herrings gave out Shell gas cards that had nothing on them. Other times, the gift cards have run counter to OAN’s right-wing anti-”woke” orthodoxy: The network ran a “Boycott Target” campaign around Pride Month, one insider explained, but later gave out Target gift cards.
And while the Herrings told employees they would not receive raises earlier this year, the newsroom was shocked to see the boss publicly offer Tucker Carlson millions of dollars to come to OAN after Fox News fired him. That included Ball—known for his temper—who allegedly “fumed” over Herring’s proposal, our sources relayed. “He was sitting in his office with glass walls pacing up and down, he was so mad,” said one OAN insider who witnessed the incident. “He thinks he’s better than Tucker.”
When reached for comment, Ball berated Confider, calling this reporter a “fucking hack” before hanging up. He then emailed: “Go print your lies, like you always do… You are just a lying POS propagandist for the left. Oh, and go fuck yourself. Print that.”
Subscribe to the Confider newsletter here and have The Daily Beast media team’s stellar reporting sent straight to your inbox every Monday night.