One America News Network has filed defamation charges against MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and others for “false and malicious libel” against the conservative cable news channel.
Herrring Networks, Inc., the owner of OAN, filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit in a federal court in California against Maddow, Comcast Corporation, NBC Universal, and MSNBC, according to a press release issued on Monday.
Seeking more than $10 million in damages, the lawsuit accused Maddow of “maliciously and recklessly” smearing the network and detailed OAN’s grievances against Comcast.
The San Diego-based company alleged that Comcast refused to carry the network as part of its cable programming lineup directly because OAN “counters the liberal politics of its own channel, MSNBC.”
Herring called out Comcast’s “anti-competitive censorship” in an email to Comcast’s President of Content Acquisition and, a week later — according to the lawsuit — Maddow kicked off her show by telling her audience that OAN “really literally is paid Russian propaganda.”
Calling the network “another boutique little news outlet that is designed specifically for Trump mega fans,” Maddow went on to declare that the network “has a full-time on-air reporter who covers U.S. politics who is simultaneously on the payroll of the Kremlin.”
The remarks by the 46-year-old liberal commentator were known to be “false” by the defendants named in the lawsuit, the OAN complaint alleged, and her words were “meant to damage” the conservative channel, which was launched in 2013.
“OAN asserts that, in fact, Defendants knew this statement was false and that they acted maliciously and recklessly in making it,” the press release read.
“The Complaint alleges that the statement was meant to damage OAN’s business and reputation because OAN, unlike MSNBC, presents a conservative viewpoint; and that OAN was targeted in retaliation for calling out Defendants for their anti-competitive censorship in refusing to carry OAN on its cable system,” it continued.
The language checks off the boxes for the legal definition of California defamation law, which includes both libel and slander.
OAN put Maddow and The Daily Beast’s Kevin Poulsen on notice in July after the false comments linking them to Russian propaganda, demanding a retraction.
“This is vile, sensationalistic reporting,” the office of Miller Barondess, LLP wrote in a 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.”
Los Angeles attorney Skip Miller is now representing OAN, which operates news bureaus in Washington, D.C. and California, in the lawsuit that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California on Monday.
“One America is wholly owned, operated and financed by the Herring family in San Diego. They are as American as apple pie,” Miller said, according to the press release.
“They are not paid by Russia and have nothing to do with the Russian government. This is a false and malicious libel, and they’re going to answer for it in a court of law,” he added.
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