Fans of Graham Ledger, the conservative firebrand on San Diego’s One America News Network, have been asking for weeks why he no longer was on the air weekdays at 5 p.m. Pacific.
Late Thursday came an explanation from CNN’s Brian Stelter: He has “apparently broken off his ties with the network.”
That wasn’t news to the hundreds of Ledger watchers who posted plaintive comments on Ledger’s Facebook page.
Linda Weyer posted: “Stephanie Hamill has been sitting in for him! On Tuesday’s show she told us why he hasn’t been there! He took a vacation and never came back! He’s burnt out! May do Podcast! Really miss him too!”
Stelter reported that Hamill read an OAN statement on the air, “apparently in response to viewer questions about Ledger’s disappearance.”
Hamill was quoted as saying: “Graham Ledger advised that he was burnt out and could no longer do his show. He went on vacation and did not return. He will be doing a podcast from home.”
His podcasts, which also are posted on YouTube, didn’t give a clue why he wasn’t sitting in his OAN chair, where his catchphrase was: “Stand by! The doors to the newsroom are locked and the ‘PC police’ are not getting in.”
On July 1, Ledger replied to a Gov. Gavin Newsom tweet with: “Wearing a mask is a sign of submission. I would rather die from the Wuhan Coronavirus, than EVER submit (to) you! COME AND GET ME! Jerk!”
So some thought it was mainstream media payback.
“Please, OAN, don’t cower to the MSM threats or intimidation tactics used by the Radical Marxist Socialist Democrat Party,” a “heartbroken” Cozette Cady posted on Facebook. “We are fans of Graham Ledger and want to know what happened to him? Please bring him back! We miss him very much.”
Stelter, who hosts the Sunday news-media show “Reliable Sources,” said in his newsletter Thursday night that “YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST” about Ledger’s exit.
But Times of San Diego received a tip the morning of Friday, July 24, that Ledger was no longer with OAN and may have been fired. It wasn’t reported, for lack of confirmation.
Robert Herring Sr., CEO and founder of the network, didn’t respond to a request for comment that day, and neither did Ledger — known for his stint with KFMB-TV, the San Diego CBS affiliate.
(He worked there as a news anchor from January 1990 to January 2004, according to his LinkedIn account.)
Ledger, 59, is a 1984 graduate of San Diego State University who has won two local Emmy awards for writing.
Like detectives — or conspiracy theorists — Ledger’s fans on Facebook debated his fate. (He offered no clues via social media.)
Robert Simandl wrote: “The fact that Graham is doing a full-length program on YouTube indicates he’s NOT on any sort of ‘vacation. Also not a good sign.”
Lorene Leiter wrote: “It’s now Week 4 without you, Graham, and I’m getting worried. I see you’re alive and well. Whew! I’m encouraged that the name of the show (The Daily Ledger) hasn’t changed, so maybe that means you’re coming back. I pray you’ll come back. You are by far the best commentator on TV.”
And Helane Todd wrote: “OAN is not the same without you. I agreed with everything you said. I thought you were going to run for office.”
In fact, a Sept. 3, 2019, news release said Ledger was being asked to run for Congress — the 52nd District seat held by incumbent Democratic Rep. Scott Peters.
“In FILING FEC-1337422, a team of veteran members of the California Republican party is ‘testing the waters’ for Ledger’s possible run,” said the group. But no such record could be found on the Federal Election Commission site.
Still, the release quoted Ledger as saying: “I am honored and humbled at the prospect of installing true constitutionally based representation of San Diego in Washington, D.C.”
He added: “For too long, the hard-working people in America’s Finest City have been neglected by partisan, establishment temporary politicians who care more about their political party and power than We The People. If I do run, then my goal would be to serve the people and then go home!”