One America News Network files $10-million defamation lawsuit against Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, and corporate parents

President Trump isn't the only one who hits back.  The parent of the scrappy conservative news outlet One America News Network (OANN), Herring Networks, has filed a lawsuit against Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, and its corporate parents for defamation.  The entire statement by the plaintiff's attorneys is embedded below, but this constitutes the heart of the matter, and it goes beyond mere defamation:

The Complaint alleges that Comcast refused to carry OAN as part of its cable programming because OAN counters the liberal politics of its own channel, MSNBC.

The Complaint further alleges that one week after OAN's President, Charles Herring, called out and objected to Comcast's anti-competitive censorship in an email to Comcast's President of Content Acquisition, MSNBC's most popular show — The Rachel Maddow Show — opened with the show's host, Rachel Maddow, telling her audience that OAN "really literally is paid Russian propaganda."

OAN asserts that, in fact, Defendants knew this statement was false and that they acted maliciously and recklessly in making it. The Complaint alleges that the statement was meant to damage OAN's business and reputation because OAN, unlike MSNBC, presents a conservative viewpoint; and that OAN was targeted in retaliation for calling out Defendants for their anti-competitive censorship in refusing to carry OAN on its cable system.

I am no lawyer, but if, as alleged, there is no basis for Maddow's statement (as I presume), then a substantial jury verdict may be in the offing.  Would such a verdict pave the way for a private antitrust lawsuit against Comcast?  I lack the expertise to know, but I hope so.

The concentration of ownership of our media is a major problem, particularly since studies consistently reveal that 90% of news reporting is hostile to President Trump.  When a corporation like Comcast (and its parent AT&T) controls news-providers like MSNBC and NBC, and also controls a major distribution system like Comcast's cable operations, to the exclusion of a competitor that offers a diametrically different viewpoint, that seems like a problem for which antitrust law is the solution.

Here is the complete statement from OANN's lawyers:

MILLER BARONDESS FILES $10 MILLION LAWSUIT AGAINST RACHEL MADDOW AND MSNBC FOR DEFAMATION

Los Angeles, CA — September 9, 2019 – Herring Networks, Inc., an independent, family owned national cable television programming company based in San Diego, California, filed a defamation lawsuit today in the United States District Court, Southern District of California, against Defendants Rachel Maddow, Comcast Corporation, NBC Universal Media, LLC, and MSNBC Cable LLC. The Complaint seeks damages in excess of $10,000,000.

Herring Networks owns and operates One America News Network ("OAN"), a prominent and popular independent television news channel providing Americans with a conservative alternative to the major liberal news outlets. The Complaint alleges that Comcast refused to carry OAN as part of its cable programming because OAN counters the liberal politics of its own channel, MSNBC.

The Complaint further alleges that one week after OAN's President, Charles Herring, called out and objected to Comcast's anti-competitive censorship in an email to Comcast's President of Content Acquisition, MSNBC's most popular show — The Rachel Maddow Show — opened with the show's host, Rachel Maddow, telling her audience that OAN "really literally is paid Russian propaganda."

OAN asserts that, in fact, Defendants knew this statement was false and that they acted maliciously and recklessly in making it. The Complaint alleges that the statement was meant to damage OAN's business and reputation because OAN, unlike MSNBC, presents a conservative viewpoint; and that OAN was targeted in retaliation for calling out Defendants for their anti-competitive censorship in refusing to carry OAN on its cable system.

OAN is represented by Skip Miller, a partner at Miller Barondess, LLP in Los Angeles.  Per Miller, "One America is wholly owned, operated and financed by the Herring family in San Diego. They are as American as apple pie. They are not paid by Russia and have nothing to do with the Russian government. This is a false and malicious libel, and they're going to answer for it in a court of law."

About One America News Network ("OAN"):

One America News Network ("OAN"), owned and operated by Herring Networks, Inc., was launched on July 4, 2013 and provides an independent source of national and international news around the clock.  In addition to external newsgathering sources, the network operates news bureaus in Washington, D.C. and California. The OAN channel is carried on satellite, cable and streaming providers. For more information, please visit www.oann.com.

About Miller Barondess, LLP:

Miller Barondess, LLP is a 35-lawyer firm in Los Angeles handling high-stakes litigation and trial work. Skip Miller is among the top trial lawyers in the nation, representing clients from celebrities to Fortune 500 companies to government in litigation matters. The firm's attorneys hail from top law schools and aggressively and effectively litigate. For more information, please visit www.millerbarondess.com.

President Trump isn't the only one who hits back.  The parent of the scrappy conservative news outlet One America News Network (OANN), Herring Networks, has filed a lawsuit against Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, and its corporate parents for defamation.  The entire statement by the plaintiff's attorneys is embedded below, but this constitutes the heart of the matter, and it goes beyond mere defamation:

The Complaint alleges that Comcast refused to carry OAN as part of its cable programming because OAN counters the liberal politics of its own channel, MSNBC.

The Complaint further alleges that one week after OAN's President, Charles Herring, called out and objected to Comcast's anti-competitive censorship in an email to Comcast's President of Content Acquisition, MSNBC's most popular show — The Rachel Maddow Show — opened with the show's host, Rachel Maddow, telling her audience that OAN "really literally is paid Russian propaganda."

OAN asserts that, in fact, Defendants knew this statement was false and that they acted maliciously and recklessly in making it. The Complaint alleges that the statement was meant to damage OAN's business and reputation because OAN, unlike MSNBC, presents a conservative viewpoint; and that OAN was targeted in retaliation for calling out Defendants for their anti-competitive censorship in refusing to carry OAN on its cable system.

I am no lawyer, but if, as alleged, there is no basis for Maddow's statement (as I presume), then a substantial jury verdict may be in the offing.  Would such a verdict pave the way for a private antitrust lawsuit against Comcast?  I lack the expertise to know, but I hope so.

The concentration of ownership of our media is a major problem, particularly since studies consistently reveal that 90% of news reporting is hostile to President Trump.  When a corporation like Comcast (and its parent AT&T) controls news-providers like MSNBC and NBC, and also controls a major distribution system like Comcast's cable operations, to the exclusion of a competitor that offers a diametrically different viewpoint, that seems like a problem for which antitrust law is the solution.

Here is the complete statement from OANN's lawyers:

MILLER BARONDESS FILES $10 MILLION LAWSUIT AGAINST RACHEL MADDOW AND MSNBC FOR DEFAMATION

Los Angeles, CA — September 9, 2019 – Herring Networks, Inc., an independent, family owned national cable television programming company based in San Diego, California, filed a defamation lawsuit today in the United States District Court, Southern District of California, against Defendants Rachel Maddow, Comcast Corporation, NBC Universal Media, LLC, and MSNBC Cable LLC. The Complaint seeks damages in excess of $10,000,000.

Herring Networks owns and operates One America News Network ("OAN"), a prominent and popular independent television news channel providing Americans with a conservative alternative to the major liberal news outlets. The Complaint alleges that Comcast refused to carry OAN as part of its cable programming because OAN counters the liberal politics of its own channel, MSNBC.

The Complaint further alleges that one week after OAN's President, Charles Herring, called out and objected to Comcast's anti-competitive censorship in an email to Comcast's President of Content Acquisition, MSNBC's most popular show — The Rachel Maddow Show — opened with the show's host, Rachel Maddow, telling her audience that OAN "really literally is paid Russian propaganda."

OAN asserts that, in fact, Defendants knew this statement was false and that they acted maliciously and recklessly in making it. The Complaint alleges that the statement was meant to damage OAN's business and reputation because OAN, unlike MSNBC, presents a conservative viewpoint; and that OAN was targeted in retaliation for calling out Defendants for their anti-competitive censorship in refusing to carry OAN on its cable system.

OAN is represented by Skip Miller, a partner at Miller Barondess, LLP in Los Angeles.  Per Miller, "One America is wholly owned, operated and financed by the Herring family in San Diego. They are as American as apple pie. They are not paid by Russia and have nothing to do with the Russian government. This is a false and malicious libel, and they're going to answer for it in a court of law."

About One America News Network ("OAN"):

One America News Network ("OAN"), owned and operated by Herring Networks, Inc., was launched on July 4, 2013 and provides an independent source of national and international news around the clock.  In addition to external newsgathering sources, the network operates news bureaus in Washington, D.C. and California. The OAN channel is carried on satellite, cable and streaming providers. For more information, please visit www.oann.com.

About Miller Barondess, LLP:

Miller Barondess, LLP is a 35-lawyer firm in Los Angeles handling high-stakes litigation and trial work. Skip Miller is among the top trial lawyers in the nation, representing clients from celebrities to Fortune 500 companies to government in litigation matters. The firm's attorneys hail from top law schools and aggressively and effectively litigate. For more information, please visit www.millerbarondess.com.