One America News has sent Cease and Desist notices and demands for retraction to Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, The Daily Beast and its reporter Kevin Poulson over their claims that the network is a “paid Russian propaganda operation.”
The notices to retract warned that if they do not comply with the conditions sent to them by August 15, 2019, they “will recommend that our client pursue all legal avenues to protect its interests, including damages and attorneys’ fees and costs incurred as a result of your actions.”
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 continues on to allege 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.”
In the letter to Poulson, they cite an article that attacked OAN writer Kristian Rouz for some work he has done with Russian media writing primarily about economic news.
“The implication to the reader—before they even get to the substance of the article—is that Rouz’s work for OAN is part and parcel of his outside writing for other media outlets. The article goes on to underscore that false implication, by quoting a source claiming that “the merger between Russian state-sponsored propaganda and the American conservative media” is complete, that OAN ‘pushes some of the same false stores as Sputnik and RT,’ and that ‘Kremlin propaganda sometimes leaks’ into Rouz’s work for OAN. The false insinuation that OAN is part of the Kremlin’s propaganda machine is utterly false,” the letter states.
OAN defended their writer by asserting that “he is paid by OAN—not the Russian government—for the content he creates for OAN. Every article he writes goes through OAN’s editorial process.”
They also included a signed statement from Rouz saying that he was never a staff employee of Sputnik News.
They demand that Poulsen and the others who received letters “immediately cease and desist in publishing defamatory statements about our client, whether the statements are made by you or by third parties” and “issue a public retraction of the defamatory statements, making clear that OAN is not paid Russian propaganda.”
Skip Miller, partner at Miller Barondess, said in a statement to Business Wire that “this is vile, sensationalistic reporting. 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.”
Miller is ranked one of the top trial lawyers in America.