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Conservative Network Wants $10M for MSNBC Host's On-Air Claim

One America News accuses Rachel Maddow of defamation for calling it 'Russian propaganda'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 10, 2019 10:05 AM CDT
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In this Oct. 16, 2017, file photo, MSNBC television anchor Rachel Maddow, host of "The Rachel Maddow Show," moderates a panel at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

(Newser) – A conservative television network sued Rachel Maddow for more than $10 million on Monday for calling it "paid Russian propaganda." One America News filed the federal defamation suit in San Diego, the AP reports. The small, family-owned network is challenging Fox News for conservative cable and satellite TV viewers and has received favorable tweets from President Trump. The lawsuit, which names Maddow, Comcast, MSNBC, and NBCUniversal Media, contends that Maddow's comment on her July 22 MSNBC show was retaliation after OAN President Charles Herring accused cable television giant Comcast of censorship. The suit contends that Comcast refused to carry the channel because it "counters the liberal politics of Comcast's own news channel, MSNBC."

A week after Herring sent an email to a Comcast exec, Maddow opened her MSNBC show by citing a Daily Beast report that said an OAN employee also worked for Sputnik News, which is tied to the Russian government. "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. In the lawsuit, OAN said Kristian Rouz was a freelancer for Sputnik News, not a staff employee, and his work there had nothing to do with his work for OAN. The lawsuit includes a statement from Rouz that said he wrote some 1,300 articles over the past 4 ½ years for Sputnik but "I have never written propaganda, disinformation, or unverified information." Says an attorney for OAN, "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." (Read more Rachel Maddow stories.)

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