Hold My Beer: OANN Flies off the Deep End

By Philip Pearson

Just when you thought they couldn’t go any dumber re: discouraging their audience from taking even the most basic coronavirus precautions, One America News Network’s Pearson Sharp told ‘em, “Hold my beer.” 

In this New Years Eve video segment, posted to OANN under the  jingoistic, dog whistle-y headline: Over 150 Studies Find That Wearing Masks Makes No Difference Stopping The Spread Of The China Virus, Sharp collects every extremist (and yet somehow also deeply trite and cliche) conservative talking point about masks into a single video clip. 

“Masks don’t work. It’s time to come out and say it. Masks just do not work.”

“The bandanas that…Karens make you wear at the grocery store…”

“I’m not a doctor or a scientist, but you don’t need to be to figure this out. Up until the pandemic hit, [masks not preventing infection] was simply established science. Everyone knew it. Even the Dog murdering, orphan expirimenting, fascist Benito Fauci knew it…”

Sharp, (who seems not to understand the basic principles of the scientific method), spends the segment’s first four minutes whining that scientists like Dr. Fauci, (based on evolving data), dared to revise their initial recommendations about mask wearing over the course of the pandemic. This, Sharp advises his rapt and increasingly extremist audience, is evidence of some kind of fascist, tyrannical, Democratic government conspiracy to “dehumanize us. To make us conform. To force us to obey. [Masks] are an outward sign of obedience to the tyrants. Who, by the way, don’t believe in these mask mandates either.” 

That’s right. Forget that just days earlier conservatives were falling over themselves on Twitter to mock Biden for wearing a mask outdoors on a public beach. Now, Sharp claims, (without actually providing any of the evidence he claims there to be “tons” of), that “There’s tons of evidence of our…rulers…ignoring the mandates when it’s inconvenient.”

But what’s sad about videos like this isn’t so much that there are on-air personalities like Sharp who are willing to be the continued face of pandemic-related disinformation. And it’s not even the broader willingness of purported “news” providers like OANN to endanger the public health in service of increasing the ad revenue on their airwaves. What’s sad about videos like this is how evident it becomes, watching them, that their producers believe the targeted audience to be this ignorant. This…stupid. This prepared to believe anything their worshiped Conservative Media Elites shove down their willing little throats. 

Offered as evidence of Fauci’s hypocrisy? A spliced together montage of Dr. Fauci making his initial recommendation that mask-wearing be reserved for medical settings, followed by Sharp threatening them that: “They know it’s not about public health. It’s about…oppression.” 

All this without even having referenced the supposed 150+ studies that support de-masking in the face of an airborne virus. (Spoiler alert: the almost 8 minute video offers very little in the way of that support.) 

Instead, we get an out of context clip of Rachel Maddow reporting on the initial vaccine trials, and then an extended and also contextless viral video of a maskless mother berating a New York City police officer for enforcing the city’s trespassing laws.

“If you have ever wondered what tyranny looks like?” Sharp demands as that video wraps, spittle frothing at the corners of his indignant mouth, “This is it.”

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