One America News Network has served MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” and online publication The Daily Beast with cease-and-desist letters for what OANN is characterizing as slander against their network for insinuation and possible reporting that they are controlled by the Kremlin.
“If the stories broadcast by the Trump-endorsed One America News Network sometimes look like outtakes from a Kremlin trolling operation, there may be a reason. One of the on-air reporters at the 24-hour network is a Russian national on the payroll of the Kremlin’s official propaganda outlet, Sputnik,” The Daily Beast’s article reads.
The article also states that the network is “increasingly dedicated to conspiracy theories and fake news, and became overtly supportive of Russia’s global agenda,” and that the reporter in question is Kristina Rouz, who apparently does write content that can be found on Sputnick’s website, though the nature of her employment is as yet unclear.
“Kremlin propaganda sometimes sneaks into Rouz’s segments on unrelated matters, dropped in as offhand background information,” Poulsen wrote July 22, referring to OANN as being endorsed by President Donald Trump.
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
The Daily Beast’s article sparked honorable mention on Maddow’s show, where she called OANN a “boutique, little news outlet that is designed specifically for Trump mega-fans.”
Maddow also referred to The Daily Beast article during her show:
“We literally learned today that that outlet that the president is promoting shares staff with the Kremlin,” Maddow said on the July 22 edition of her show.
“I mean, what? It’s an easy thing to throw out … ‘Hey, that looks like Russian propaganda.’ In this case, the most obsequiously pro-Trump, right-wing news outlet in America really, literally is paid Russian propaganda.”
OANN is pushing back, and is represented by Miller Barondess, LLP who offered a statement about the case:
“This is vile, sensationalistic reporting,” Miller wrote in a press release according to The Daily Caller. “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.”
Malicious attacks by anti-Trumpers, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Barry Diller’s The Daily Beast on @OANN will not go unanswered – retraction demand letters have been sent, warning of lawsuits if they fail to comply…https://t.co/dnMUwP7k2i
— One America News (@OANN) July 29, 2019
Miller Barondess, LLP, the law firm representing OAN, a pro-Trump right-wing network, wrote that Maddow and the others “maliciously slandered OAN” and asserted that they have never taken money from any foreign government, including Russia.
“The assertion that OAN is paid to disseminate propaganda on behalf of a foreign government is more than a mere falsehood—it amounts to an accusation of treason. Your comments were beyond the pale and unbecoming of a reporter at any respectable news organization,” the letter to Maddow states.
The letter to Maddow as reported by The Gateway Pundit alleges that “it also appears that the unwarranted attack on OAN was retaliation for OAN’s suggestion that Comcast is refusing to carry it for non-business reasons. On July 15, 2019, Charles Herring emailed Gregory Rigdon, the President of Content Acquisition for Comcast. Herring made the compelling business case for adding OAN and also stated his concern that Comcast is refusing to carry OAN because OAN’s coverage ‘generally counters the voice of MSNBC.’ Exactly one week after that email, MSNBC’s number one show opens with a hit piece on OAN. This does not appear to be a mere coincidence. Tellingly, nobody at MSNBC or Comcast made any effort to reach out to OAN for comment prior to airing the defamatory statements.”
OANN’s attorneys have given the deadline of Aug. 15 for Maddow and the Daily Beast to retract their statements.