SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego-based owners and operators of the conservative One America News Network filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit Monday against MSNBC and political commentator Rachel Maddow for saying on air the network ``really literally is paid Russian propaganda.''
The lawsuit filed in San Diego federal court by Herring Networks Inc., owners of the One America News Network -- or OAN -- calls Maddow's on-air statements ``utterly and completely false'' because OAN ``is wholly financed by the Herrings, an American family'' and ``has never been paid or received a penny from Russia or the Russian government.''
Maddow and MSNBC could not immediately be reached for comment.
Maddow made the statements during a July 22 segment of her show, in which she cited a Daily Beast article stating that an OAN on-air reporter was ``on the payroll for the Kremlin.''
Herring Networks' court papers say the reporter, Kristian Rouz, is originally from the Ukraine and started his journalism career by writing articles for Sputnik News, which is affiliated with the Russian government. According to Herring Networks, Rouz was merely a freelancer for Sputnik who selected his own article topics for submission, and his work there had no significance toward his work for OAN.
OAN demanded a retraction of Maddow's statement, according to the suit, which says that an attorney for NBC Universal refuted that Maddow's use of the word ``literally'' was not simply a figure of speech.
The Herrings' attorney, Skip Miller, said in a statement that ``One America is wholly owned by the Herring family in San Diego,'' who he called ``as American as apple pie.''
Regarding Maddow's statements, Miller said, ``This is a false and malicious libel, and they're going to answer for it in a court of law.''
The suit also accuses Comcast, which owns MSNBC, of refusing to carry OAN on its cable service ``because it counters the liberal message of MSNBC,'' an act the plaintiffs call ``blatant censorship.''