One America News Sues Rachel Maddow, NBC Over "Russian Propaganda" Claim

2019 NBCUniversal Upfront in New York City on Monday, May 13, 2019 -Rachel Maddow- publicity-H 2019
Peter Kramer/NBCUniversal

The conservative, pro-Trump network argues that Maddow retaliated after "Comcast refused to carry OAN as part of its cable programming."

One America News Network, a small cable news channel that strongly supports President Donald Trump's agenda, filed a lawsuit filed a lawsuit alleging that MSNBC host Rachel Maddow defamed the company by saying that it "really literally is paid Russian propaganda.”

The convoluted $10 million suit begins with the network's claim that Maddow's comment was partially in retaliation for a decision by MSNBC parent company Comcast to not carry OAN.

"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.'"

MSNBC has not yet 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.

A lawyer for OAN, 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."

OAN, along with Chris Ruddy's Newsmax, is challenging Fox News for the attention of conservative television watchers. The network covets the attention of Trump supporters and the president himself, who has recently tweeted favorably about it.

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."

The MSNBC host called OAN "the most obsequiously pro-Trump, right-wing news outlet in America." Of Rouz, Maddow said, "Their on-air U.S. politics reporter is paid by the Russian government to produce propaganda for that government."

"OAN President Charles Herring invited The Daily Beast to submit written questions about the network’s arrangement with Rouz," according to the report. "But after receiving the questions, Herring cut off contact."