by Shelby Talcott
One America News Network (OANN) demanded retractions from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and The Daily Beast, threatening a lawsuit, after both suggested links to the network and Russian propaganda.
Kevin Poulsen of The Daily Beast wrote an article stating OANN’s Kristian Rouz “appears on segments for One America News Network – ironic given he is working for a Russian outlet fingered in the 2016 election attack.” That same day, Maddow stated on “The Rachel Maddow Show” that OANN “really, literally is Russia propaganda.”
Rouz does write for Sputnik, a Russian government-owned news outlet. He has “never had decision-making authority with respect to the content that is aired on OAN,” one cease-and-desist letter reads.
“His outside work for other media outlets has no relation to — or bearing on — his work for OAN,” according to a cease-and-desist letter.
Poulsen quoted former FBI agent Clint Watts, who suggested OANN employing Rouz means the outlet has merged with “Russian state-sponsored propaganda.”
“This completes the merger between Russian state-sponsored propaganda and American conservative media,” Watts said. “We used to think of it as ‘They just have the same views’ or ‘They use the same story leads.’ But now they have the same personnel.”
Miller Barondess, LLP is handling the case against on behalf of OANN.
“This is vile, sensationalistic reporting,” Miller wrote in a press release. “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.”
“Kremlin propaganda sometimes sneaks into Rouz’s segments on unrelated matters, dropped in as offhand background information,” Poulsen wrote July 22, in which he referred to OANN as being endorsed by President Donald Trump.
If the stories broadcast by the Trump-endorsed One America News Network sometimes look like outtakes from a Kremlin trolling operation, there may be a reason. One of the on-air reporters at the 24-hour network is a Russian national on the payroll of the Kremlin’s official propaganda outlet, Sputnik.
The article also reads that OANN is “increasingly dedicated to conspiracy theories and fake news, and became overtly supportive of Russia’s global agenda.”
Maddow described OANN as a “boutique, little news outlet that is designed specifically for Trump mega-fans. It’s called One America … News Network.” She referred to The Daily Beast article during her show.
“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.”
OANN’s lawyers have given Maddow and The Daily Beast until Aug. 15 to retract its statements, according to the cease-and-desist requests.
Poulsen declined to comment. Maddow and The Daily Beast did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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Shelby Talcott is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Image “Rachael Maddow Live” by Rex Sorgatz CC2.0.