Herring Networks, Inc., which owns One America News Network, a “conservative alternative” to the news, filed a $10,000,000 defamation lawsuit in a U.S. District Court in California on Monday against MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, Comcast, NBC Universal Media, and MSNBC Cable for defamation and censorship.
As detailed in a press release Monday, One America News (OAN) is suing Maddow and her employer for making the false claim on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” that OAN “really literally is paid Russian propaganda” — an assertion OAN says was made “maliciously and recklessly” and despite the left-leaning host knowing it was false. The defamatory claim, OAN says, was made shortly after OAN President Charles Herring condemned NBC’s parent company, Comcast, for engaging in “anti-competitive censorship.”
“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,” OAN announced Monday (full release below). “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.'”
The defendents, OAN maintains, “knew this statement was false and that they acted maliciously and recklessly in making it.” Maddow and MSNBC promoted the false claim, the lawsuit asserts, specifically to damage the reputation and business of OAN because of the network’s conservative viewpoint and to retaliate against the network for Herring’s complaint about Comcast’s alleged censorship.
The lawsuit follows OAN’s demand for retraction issued to Maddow and The Daily Beast’s Kevin Poulsen in July after both pushed the Russian claim. As outlined by The Daily Caller at the time, Poulsen wrote that OAN’s Kristian Rouz is a “Russian national on the payroll of the Kremlin’s official propaganda outlet, Sputnik.” Maddow said on her show the same day that OAN “really, literally is Russian propaganda.”
Maddow has repeatedly promoted conspiracy theories about Russian influence on her show, particularly alleged “collusion” between Russia and Trump and his associates.
Below is the full press release from OAN (formatting adjusted):
Los Angeles, CA—September 9, 2019 – Herring Networks, Inc., an independent, family owned national cable television programming company based in San Diego, California, filed a defamation lawsuit today in the United States District Court, Southern District of California, against Defendants Rachel Maddow, Comcast Corporation, NBC Universal Media, LLC, and MSNBC Cable LLC. The Complaint seeks damages in excess of $10,000,000.
Herring Networks owns and operates One America News Network (“OAN”), a prominent and popular independent television news channel providing Americans with a conservative alternative to the major liberal news outlets. 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 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.”
OAN asserts that, in fact, Defendants knew this statement was false and that they acted maliciously and recklessly in making it. 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.
OAN is represented by Skip Miller, a partner at Miller Barondess, LLP in Los Angeles. Per Miller, “One America 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 a false and malicious libel, and they’re going to answer for it in a court of law.”