Russia Connected OAN Network Loses Anti-Free Speech Case Against Rachel Maddow

One America News Network (OAN or OANN) got really mad that Rachel Maddow said its network was Russian propaganda. “The most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda,” she said, triggering the high budget propaganda network to pull out its endless wallet and harass Rachel Maddow and others with a lawsuit trying to shut her up. They lost. According to the ruling [PDF], the Rachel Maddow video said:

… that she has the “most perfectly formed story of the day” and presented Kevin Poulsen’s Daily Beast article. She stated the article reports that OAN, which is “Trump’s favorite, more Trump-ier than Fox TV network[,]. . . has a full-time on-air reporter who covers U.S.politics, who is also simultaneously on the payroll of the Kremlin.” The reporter is being paid to produce “pro-Putin propaganda” for the Russian-funded network Sputnik. Maddow states, “there is a lot of news today, but among the giblets the news gods dropped off their plates for us to eat off the floor today, is the actual news that this super right-wing news outlet that the President has repeatedly endorsed . . . we literally learned today that that outlet the President is promoting shares staff with the Kremlin. I mean, what?” She laughs and soon after says, “in this case, the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda.”

Rachel Maddow was referring to Kristian Brunovich Rouz, a Russian who worked for Sputnik and was now working with OAN.

OAN agreed with what Rachel said except this part at the end: OAN “really literally is paid Russian propaganda.” On that comment, OAN decided to try to take away Rachel’s free speech, complaining that it was not true and she left out pertinent facts:

Plaintiff argues that Maddow did not present the full story, namely that “Rouz has no decision-making authority with respect to the content that is aired on OAN” and was “merely a freelancer for Sputnik News.”

In other words, they wanted her to make their argument for them. Imagine if every time OAN or Fox News or Newsmax or Daily Caller had to spend half their time arguing against themselves when they made statements? That’s not a standard they actually want. So this whole lawsuit itself must be an attempt at defamation. They are trying to destroy the reputation of their perceived enemy Rachel Maddow who says not-so-nice things about Republicans. What else could it be coming from supporters of the party who got rid of equal time rules, the Fairness Doctrine, and enthroned corporations with a new kind of personhood that conflates ‘free speech’ with corporate censorship and permits employers to discriminate against women?

The court literally had to go on and analyze the word “literally.” The judge pulled out his online dictionary and read from it:

A main issue here is whether Maddow’s statement was hyperbolic. Because Maddow used the word “literally” (i.e., OAN is “literally” paid Russian propaganda), Plaintiff asserts it would be unreasonable to find the statement to be hyperbolic. What is noteworthy about the word “literally” is its conflicting definitions. The first definition of the word is: “in a literal sense or manner: such as . . . in a way that uses the ordinary or primary meaning of a term or expression [or] used to emphasize the truth and accuracy of a statement or description.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, But the alternative definition is: “in effect :Virtually — used in an exaggerated way to emphasize a statement or description that is not literally true or possible.”

All those high-paid attorneys and they forgot to consult a dictionary. Do they even have internet? Feels over reals? They didn’t do so well with the law either, as the court concludes:

Because there is no set of facts that could support a claim for defamation based on Maddow’s statement, the complaint is dismissed with prejudice. After Defendants’ motion for attorney’s fees is resolved, the Court will instruct the Clerk to close this case.

The court dismissed the case and may assess costs against OAN for filing. Good thing too because if OAN could sue for this, imagine the precedent. People like Seth Rich’s family, David Hogg, George Soros, and Hillary Clinton could quickly come after OAN for its many fake stories.

OAN was created by Robert Herring who made his money printing circuit boards.