Far-right disinformation outlet One America News (OAN) frequently peddles lies to supporters of former President Donald Trump, who eagerly endorses the network for its constant defense of his policies and diatribes.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, in 2018, called out Trump's strange alliance with OAN after the Daily Beast reported that one of its reporters, Kristian Brunovich Rouz, was also writing for Sputnik, a Russian state-owned news network.
Maddow said of the report:
"We literally learned today that that outlet the President is promoting shares staff with the Kremlin. I mean, what?… [T]he most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda. Their on-air U.S. politics reporter is paid by the Russian government to produce propaganda for that government."
OAN responded by suing Maddow for libel in a case that was thrown out in May of 2020. The network had requested $10 million in damages.
Now, OAN's case was dealt another damning blow after being tossed out on appeal. Rather than getting millions from Maddow and MSNBC, the network will likely have to pay upwards of $250 thousand in legal fees for dragging out the process.
The ruling, issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, reads in part:
"Turning to the merits, the panel held that Maddow's statement was well within the bounds of what qualified as protected speech under the First Amendment. The challenged statement was an obvious exaggeration, cushioned with an undisputed news story. The statement could not reasonably be understood to imply as an assertion of objective fact, and therefore, did not amount to defamation."
People weren't sympathetic to OAN.
Several people celebrated the development.
The $250 thousand sum pales in comparison to what OAN could be paying in defamation damages to election software companies the network falsely claimed facilitated election fraud to steal the 2020 election from Donald Trump.