One America News’ Defamation Lawsuit Against Rachel Maddow Gets Thrown Out

One America News’ Defamation Lawsuit Against Rachel Maddow Gets Thrown Out

A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against Rachel Maddow by One America News in which the network accused Maddow of defamation for saying it was “Russian propaganda.”

In July 2019, Maddow was discussing a Daily Beast article which reported that an OAN contributor was being paid by Sputnik, a Russian-backed news website. “The most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America,” Maddow said, “really literally is paid Russian propaganda.”

Given the context of the segment, U.S. Judge Cynthia Bashant ruled, Maddow was offering her opinion on the matter based on the article.

“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 suit was dismissed under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which guards against frivolous lawsuits regarding speech on public matters.

Maddow can now choose to have OAN pay for her attorneys’ fees.

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt is a writer and editor from New Hampshire whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Progressive, Slate and Areo Magazine, among other places. He holds a BA in Political Science and History from Boston University.