The life-cycle of false news stories is often based on a series of lies being repeated by other journalists. One news outlet publishes a scoop. Other news organizations pick it up. Sometimes, the stories grab steam and hit one of the major television news outlets. From there, the story can explode.
Such is the case of the false report that One America News (OAN) employs journalists who are paid by Russia to spread propaganda in America. The claim was ludicrous, but it went viral after the initial report on The Daily Beast when MSNBC’s most popular show host, Rachel Maddow, repeated the story on an opening segment of her show last week. The claims are demonstrably false and could have been easily cleared up had Maddow’s team reached out to OAN for comment or clarification. Instead, they ran with the story.
Now, OAN is fighting back with a letter sent by counsel Miller Barondess, LLP, demanding a public retraction. The letter was sent to Maddow, The Daily Beast, and others involved in the sensational “fake news” reporting.
According to the letters sent to the progressive outlets:
You falsely claimed – without a shred of evidence – that OAN “really literally is paid Russian propaganda.” That is false. OAN has never received a single penny from the Russian government. The assertion that OAN is paid to disseminate propaganda on behalf of a foreign government is more than a mere falsehood – it amounts to an accusation of treason. Your comments were beyond the pale and unbecoming of a reporter at any respectable news organization.