Saturday, May 23, 2020

Judge Tosses OAN Defamation Suit Against Rachel Maddow

A judge ruled on Friday that the host of the MSNBC program “The Rachel Maddow Show” did not malign the ultraconservative political network when she called it “Russian propaganda" and dismissed OAN’s $10 million defamation lawsuit, reported Variety.

One America News Network’s parent company, Herring Networks, argued that Maddow besmirched the company during a 2019 episode of her show while discussing a Daily Beast article that reported one OAN contributor also worked for the the Russian-based news site Sputnik.

“In this case, the most obsequiously pro-Trump, right-wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda,” said Maddow during the episode.

Herring asserted that she made a false statement, noting that OAN is not paid by the Russian government.

In dismissing the suit, U.S. Judge Cynthia Bashant ruled that Maddow was offering an opinion based on an accurate article summation, The NY Daily News reports.

“A reasonable viewer would not actually think OAN is paid Russian propaganda. Instead, he or she would follow the facts of the Daily Beast article; that OAN and Sputnik share a reporter and both pay this reporter to write articles,” Bashant wrote. “Anything beyond this is Maddow’s opinion or her exaggeration of the facts.”

The judge also noted Maddow’s tone “could be described as surprise and glee at the unexpectedness of the story,” and said that weighed in favor of dismissing the suit.

The suit was dismissed under California’s anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation statute.  OAN said it would appeal.

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