Conservative television network One America News (OAN) is suing MSNBC host Rachel Maddow for more than $10 million because she defamed the company by saying that it “really literally is paid Russian propaganda.”
“In this case, the most obsequiously pro-Trump right-wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda,” Maddow said on “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
“Their on-air U.S. politics reporter is paid by the Russian government to produce propaganda for that government,” Maddow said.
The network filed the federal defamation suit on September 9 in San Diego, California.
The lawsuit begins with One America News claim that Maddow’s comments were partially in retaliation after OAN President Charles Herring accused the cable television giant Comcast of censorship. The suit contends that Comcast refused to carry OAN because it “counters the liberal politics of Comcast’s own news channel, MSNBC.”
“The Complaint alleges that Comcast refused to carry OAN as part of its cable programming because OAN counters the liberal politics of its own channel, MSNBC,” the company said. “The Complaint further alleges that one week after OAN’s President, Charles Herring, called out and objected to Comcast’s anti-competitive censorship in an email to Comcast’s President of Content Acquisition, MSNBC’s most popular show — The Rachel Maddow Show — opened with the show’s host, Rachel Maddow, telling her audience that OAN ‘really literally is paid Russian propaganda.”
Neither Maddow nor MSNBC has commented on the suit, but OAN claims that Maddow “knew this statement was false” and made it “to damage OAN’s business and reputation” because of the network’s strong conservative leanings.
OAN’s lawyer, Skip Miller of Miller Barondess, LLP, said the network “is wholly owned, operated and financed by the Herring family in San Diego. They are as American as apple pie. They are not paid by Russia and have nothing to do with the Russian government.”
“This is vile, sensationalistic reporting,” OANN’s lawyer, Skip Miller, said according to a previous press release. “These defamatory statements must be retracted immediately. One America News Network has no connection to the Russian government or any other government — no connection whatsoever, financial or otherwise.”
From the Hollywood Reporter:
Maddow’s July 22 segment was based on an article by The Daily Beast (“Trump’s New Favorite Channel Employs Kremlin-Paid Journalist”), which reported that OAN on-air correspondent Kristian Brunovich Rouz has “been simultaneously writing for Sputnik, a Kremlin-owned news wire that played a role in Russia’s 2016 election-interference operation.”
One America News is a small, family-owned network based in San Diego, California that is challenging Fox News for conservative cable and satellite TV viewers and has received favorable tweets from President Donald Trump.