While Donald Trump and his allies had been eager to keep Doug Jones out of the Senate — few were more eager than One America News Network. The conservative television station actually called the race on-air for Roy Moore when it looked like conservative Republican — and accused child molester — was surging in the returns.
Moore ultimately lost to Jones by about 21,000 votes.
“We have some breaking news for you that we want to announce. Our unofficial polling shows Senate candidate Roy Moore sweeping the election right now in Alabama by a large margin,” says an announcer, who is mercifully unnamed.
“Now the president of One America News Robert Herring would like to congratulate Moore on the fine campaign that he and his wife have run. Speaking with campaign representatives, we are being told that there are strong signs the majority of voters have now come out in support of the judge.”
It didn’t stop there. The OAN website also published an accompanying article trumpeting the news. Obviously, it’s been deleted now — but you can view a cache copy here.
“Roy Moore wins the Alabama Senate election and will fill the seat left vacant by Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” wrote OAN staff. “Despite attacks from democrats about unverified allegations from nearly 40-years ago, Moore will keep the seat red and republicans will maintain a 52 to 48 majority in the Senate.”
Later in the evening, the network grudgingly got to the actual news with their website floating a possible recount even though Jones’ margin of victory exceeded the threshold to automatically trigger one.
It’s unclear how the snafu actually went down. Reps for the network were not immediately available for comment on Thursday.
Since launching in 2013, OAN has become a rising force in Conservative media, hitching their wagons firmly to the Trump movement. The network had been in talks with Bill O’Reilly for a show and conducted a rare interview with Moore shortly before his election night drubbing. The San Diego-based OAN is carried by select cable and satellite providers.