MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has been pushing unfounded and salacious conspiracy theories for years about President Donald Trump and Republicans.
Maddow made herself the Queen of fake news after she dedicated two years of her show to falsely claim to her viewers there’s evidence Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election.
But her lies finally caught up with her a few months ago when the conservative network One America News Network (OANN) smacked her with a cease and desist letter.
Maddow is now in court trying to defend herself — with legal help from Comcast and MSNBC — because she’s being sued for $10 million for claiming a OANN reporter is a Russia asset trying to subvert America and help Trump.
This story has taken several turns in recent months.
Here’s how it all started.
In their lawsuit, OANN demanded retractions from Maddow and The Daily Beast’s Kevin Poulsen after both claimed there’s a connection between the conservative network and Russian propaganda.
Poulsen published a piece on July 22 falsely stating OANN host Kristian Rouz is a “Russian national on the payroll of the Kremlin’s official propaganda outlet, Sputnik.”
On that same day, Maddow used a chunk of her MSNBC program to detail the report from Poulsen and claimed that OANN “really, literally is Russian propaganda.”
The cease and desist letter, which was sent on July 25, states that Rouz writes for Sputnik, a Russian government-owned news outlet, but contends that he has “never had decision-making authority with respect to the content that is aired on OAN.”
“His outside work for other media outlets has no relation to — or bearing on — his work for OAN,” the letter stated.
To make his shoddy case, Poulsen’s article quoted former FBI agent Clint Watts, who claimed that OANN employing Rouz means the outlet has merged with “Russian state-sponsored propaganda.”
Below is a video of Maddow covering Poulsen’s article and claiming that OANN is a “boutique, little news outlet that is designed specifically for Trump mega-fans. It’s called One America … News Network.”
“We literally learned today that that outlet that the president is promoting shares staff with the Kremlin,” Maddow said July 22. “I mean, what? It’s an easy thing to throw out … ‘Hey, that looks like Russian propaganda.’ In this case, the most obsequiously pro-Trump, right-wing news outlet in America really, literally is paid Russian propaganda.”
Here’s what Maddow’s team argued in court this week.
Maddow’s attorneys argued that OAN “utterly ignores the context of Ms. Maddow’s comment, which is nothing more than a vivid, hyperbolic turn of phrase sandwiched between precise factual recitations that indisputably and accurately state the facts from the Daily Beast article.”
They also said the “comment is fully protected opinion because (a) it was based on disclosed facts; and (b) it does not imply any additional objective facts such that it is capable of being proven false.”
The next court date in the case is Dec. 16. At that point, we might know a bit more about whether Maddow literally has something to worry about.
This is what Trump Derangement Syndrome looks like… and it may have finally caught up with Maddow.