A Court Ruled Rachel Maddow’s Viewers Know She Offers Exaggeration and Opinion, Not Facts

MSNBC’s top-rated host Rachel Maddow devoted a segment in 2019 to accusing the right-wing cable outlet One America News (OAN) of being a paid propaganda outlet for the Kremlin. Discussing a Daily Beast article which noted that one OAN reporter was a “Russian national” who was simultaneously writing copy for the Russian-owned outlet Sputnik on a freelance contract, Maddow escalated the allegation greatly into a broad claim about OAN’s real identity and purpose: “in this case,” she announced, “the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda.”

In response, OAN sued Maddow, MSNBC, and its parent corporation Comcast, Inc. for defamation, alleging that it was demonstrably false that the network, in Maddow’s words, “literally is paid Russian propaganda.” In an oddly overlooked ruling, an Obama-appointed federal judge, Cynthia Bashant, dismissed the lawsuit on the ground that even Maddow’s own audience understands that her show consists of exaggeration, hyperbole, and pure opinion, and therefore would not assume that such outlandish accusations are factually true even when she uses the language of certainty and truth when presenting them (“literally is paid Russian propaganda”).

In concluding that Maddow’s statement would be understood even by her own viewers as non-factual, the judge emphasized that what Maddow does in general is not present news but rather hyperbole and exploitation of actual news to serve her liberal activism:

On one hand, a viewer who watches news channels tunes in for facts and the goings-on of the world. MSNBC indeed produces news, but this point must be juxtaposed with the fact that Maddow made the allegedly defamatory statement on her own talk show news segment where she is invited and encouraged to share her opinions with her viewers. Maddow does not keep her political views a secret, and therefore, audiences could expect her to use subjective language that comports with her political opinions.

Thus, Maddow’s show is different than a typical news segment where anchors inform viewers about the daily news. The point of Maddow’s show is for her to provide the news but also to offer her opinions as to that news. Therefore, the Court finds that the medium of the alleged defamatory statement makes it more likely that a reasonable viewer would not conclude that the contested statement implies an assertion of objective fact.

The judge’s observations about the specific segment at issue — in which Maddow accused a competitor of being “literally paid Russian propaganda” — was even more damning. Maddow’s own viewers, ruled the court, not only expect but desire that she will not provide the news in factual form but will exaggerate and even distort reality in order to shape her opinion-driven analysis (emphasis added):

Viewers expect her to do so, as it is indeed her show, and viewers watch the segment with the understanding that it will contain Maddow’s “personal and subjective views” about the news. See id. Thus, the Court finds that as a part of the totality of the circumstances, the broad context weighs in favor of a finding that the alleged defamatory statement is Maddow’s opinion and exaggeration of the Daily Beast article, and that reasonable viewers would not take the statement as factual. . . .

Here, Maddow had inserted her own colorful commentary into and throughout the segment, laughing, expressing her dismay (i.e., saying “I mean, what?”) and calling the segment a “sparkly story” and one we must “take in stride.” For her to exaggerate the facts and call OAN Russian propaganda was consistent with her tone up to that point, and the Court finds a reasonable viewer would not take the statement as factual given this context. The context of Maddow’s statement shows reasonable viewers would consider the contested statement to be her opinion. A reasonable viewer would not actually think OAN is paid Russian propaganda, instead, he or she would follow the facts of the Daily Beast article; that OAN and Sputnik share a reporter and both pay this reporter to write articles. Anything beyond this is Maddow’s opinion or her exaggeration of the facts.

In sum, ruled the court, Rachel Maddow is among those “speakers whose statements cannot reasonably be interpreted as allegations of fact.” Despite Maddow’s use of the word “literally” to accuse OAN of being a “paid Russian propaganda” outlet, the court dismissed the lawsuit on the ground that, given Maddow’s conduct and her audience’s awareness of who she is and what she does, “the Court finds that the contested statement is an opinion that cannot serve as the basis for a defamation claim.”

What makes this particularly notable and ironic is that a similar argument was made a year later by lawyers for Fox News when defending a segment that appeared on the program of its highest-rated program, Tucker Carlson Tonight. That was part of a lawsuit brought by the former model Karen McDougal, who claimed Carlson slandered her by saying she “extorted” former President Trump by demanding payments in exchange for her silence about an extramarital affair she claimed to have with him.

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Black Men Have Lower Cognitive Skills Than White Men, NFL Asserts In Brain Injury Lawsuits

Former NFL players who suffer from dementia or other brain injuries may be entitled to payouts under the NFL’s $1 billion settlement of brain injury claims but the league uses a scoring algorithm that requires former Black players to score lower for cognitive skills than their white counterparts to receive an award which has been called “race-norming.”

The settlement is overseen by senior U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody, who was handed 50,000 petitions on Friday by former Washington running back Ken Jenkins, 61, and his wife Amy Lewis. The petitions call for equality in how former Black football players’ cognitive skills are evaluated in order to get a portion of the settlement.

“Norming by race is not the stance that the NFL ought to take. It continues to look as if it’s trying to exclude people rather than trying to do what’s right, which is to help people that, clinically, have obvious and severe disability,” New York University medical ethicist Dr. Art Caplan told the Associated Press.

The NFL’s scoring algorithm asserts that Black men have lower cognitive skills to begin with and has impeded the ability for former Black players to attain awards from the league’s settlement as they are required to score significantly lower than their white counterparts.

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Defense Wants to Prevent Expert Testimony in Cell Phone Radiation Lawsuit Because They Fear It Would “unfairly prejudice Defendants”

Cell phone injury lawsuits have existed for many years in the U.S. and worldwide (see 1234).

In the U.S. defense attorneys are currently trying to stop scientific testimony from being allowed in one case.

From Microwave News:


Defense Seeks To Bar Portier Testimony

As expected, defense lawyers have asked the DC court to not allow Christopher Portier to be an expert witness in this case.

In a filing yesterday, the team representing the cell phone industry, argued that, “[A]llowing a new expert four months before the long-planned Daubert hearing would disrupt the existing schedule and unfairly prejudice Defendants.”

The filing was signed by Terry Dee of McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago on behalf of himself and 37 other lawyers at 23 law firms.

Portier was retained by the plaintiff attorneys in March 15, 2015 with the payment of a $5,000 retainer. It is not clear why his report was filed last month, close to six years later.

No word on when the judge may rule on Portier’s participation.

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A Federal Judge Has Hidden 200 Hours Of Undercover Footage About Abortion Atrocities For 5 Years

Late one Friday in July 2015, District Judge William Orrick of San Francisco issued a restraining order blocking the release of undercover videos at the National Abortion Federation (NAF) convention showing Planned Parenthood employees negotiating the sale of aborted fetus body parts. After nearly six years, more than 200 hours of that footage are yet to be seen by the public, but that is now up for deliberation.

Since the first undercover footage was released, The Center for Medical Progress and its founder, David Daleiden, have been fighting legal battles with both NAF and Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). Luckily for both NAF and PPFA, the federal judge presiding over their cases against Daleiden is more than friendly to their pro-abortion causes.

Orrick was nominated to his position by former President Barack Obama and was a major donor to and bundler for Obama’s presidential campaign. Both Orrick and his wife are longtime donors to San Francisco’s Good Samaritan Family Resource Center (GSFRC), where Orrick was a board member and helped fund and open a Planned Parenthood clinic on its site. That clinic sold fetal tissue to StemExpress, a for-profit wholesaler exposed by CMP’s videos and reporting.

Orrick’s wife is also an outspoken abortion advocate on social media, “liking” pro-abortion groups on Facebook and even “liking” posts calling CMP and Daleiden’s videos “domestic terrorism.” Suffice it to say, Orrick is not an impartial judge on abortion. Despite attempts by Daledien and CMP to have Orrick removed from their cases, Orrick has refused to step down or even disclose his relationship with the Planned Parenthood clinic.

Nearly six years later, Daleiden is still fighting both Planned Parenthood and NAF in court, and two cases in particular have put Orrick in an interesting, if not damning, position.

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Twitter sues Texas AG to avoid investigation into its censorship practices

On Monday, Twitter filed a complaint in court against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who launched an investigation into the platform’s content censorship policies. Twitter argues that Paxton launched the investigation in retaliation to the de-platforming of former president Trump, which the company ironically claims is an abuse of power.

We obtained a copy of the complaint for you here.

“Twitter seeks to stop AG Paxton from unlawfully abusing his authority as the highest law-enforcement officer of the State of Texas to intimidate, harass, and target Twitter in retaliation for Twitter’s exercise of its First Amendment rights,” the company wrote in the court filing.

Following the suspension of Trump’s accounts on most mainstream social media platforms after the Jan 6 riot, Paxton launched an investigation into the moderation policies at Twitter, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Amazon.

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Legal Team Wants ‘Second Nuremberg Tribunal’ To Try Global Lockdown Promoters For Crimes Against Humanity

Should the technocrats who pushed governments to lockdown their citizens be tried for crimes against humanity?

One prominent German lawyer, Dr. Reiner Fuellmich, who is also licensed to practice law in America, thinks they should. And he is organizing a team of thousands of participating lawyers who want to prosecute a “second Nuremberg tribunal” against a cadre of international elites responsible for what he calls the “corona fraud scandal.”

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First Lawsuit Filed in US to Refuse Forced Vaccination Requirements

Despite the myriad of questionable deaths and illness following the administration of the COVID-19 vaccines, there are still multiple political groups, corporations, and others who are pushing to make the jab mandatory. Now, at least one person is taking action to prevent it.

This month, a corrections officer filed a lawsuit against his workplace for requiring him to receive the vaccine in order to keep his job. Isaac Legaretta, sued a county manager and his supervisor earlier this month, Bloomberg Law reported, because they are requiring him to take the vaccine against his will.

“You can’t be forced to be a human guinea pig when a product is experimental,” said N. Ana Garner, an attorney for the suing Isaac Legaretta, who filed his complaint in U.S. District Court District of New Mexico Sunday. “We have the right to bodily integrity,” she told Bloomberg.

Indeed. And, to those who attempt to dispute the fact that this is experimental, you should read more. By the very definition of the phrase, “long term effects” the literal long term effects of the vaccine are completely unknown, making this vaccine experimental.

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