‘In this case, the most obsequiously pro-Trump right-wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda…’
Maddow accused One America News Network of being a “paid Russian propaganda outlet”—a smear OAN is taking seriously.
“One America is wholly owned, operated and financed by the Herring family in San Diego. They are as American as apple pie,” OAN attorney Skip Miller said in a statement, according to Axios.
“They are not paid by Russia and have nothing to do with the Russian government,” Miller said. “This is a false and malicious libel, and they’re going to answer for it in a court of law.”
Maddow reported in July that an OAN correspondent, Kristian Rouz, had “been simultaneously writing for Sputnik, a Kremlin-owned news wire that played a role in Russia’s 2016 election-interference operation.”
Democrats have long blamed Russia for allegedly harming the campaign of Hillary Clinton by leaking a series of damning emails to Wikileaks that revealed, among other things, widespread collusion between the campaign, the Democratic National Committee and left-wing media outlets.
Following Clinton’s election loss, top campaign strategists, including John Podesta and Robby Mook actively strategized on how best to scapegoat Russian hackers for the loss in an effort to deflect from Clinton’s own misconduct.
Maddow echoed those conspiracies in her attack on OAN.
“In this case, the most obsequiously pro-Trump right-wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda,” Maddow said. “Their on-air U.S. politics reporter is paid by the Russian government to produce propaganda for that government.”
OAN called the report “utterly and completely false,” and Rouz affirmed he has “never written propaganda, disinformation, or unverified information,” even though he worked as a freelancer for Sputnik.
Maddow attacked OAN for the same reason Comcast refuses to carry OAN on its cable service, the lawsuit alleges: because OAN “counters the liberal politics of Comcast’s own news channel, MSNBC.”
President Donald Trump is among those who have praised the network and helped drive its growing popularity.
Also, congratulations to @OANN on the great job you are doing and the big ratings jump (“thank you President Trump”)!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2019
“Despite OAN’s rapid rise and growing audience, Comcast has refused to carry OAN on its cable service,” the lawsuit said.
“Comcast refuses to carry OAN because it counters the liberal message of MSNBC,” it continued. “By this blatant censorship, Comcast is depriving millions of its subscribers from hearing a different viewpoint.”
OAN argued Comcast Corporation and NBC Universal Media committed “anti-competitive censorship” by propping up Maddow, who regularly goes after conservative outlets like OAN.