California-based One America News Network (OAN) broadcasts the CEO of MyPillow Mike Lindells Documentary-style disinformation program alleging massive electoral fraud during the 2020 presidential election – 12 hours in total – as paid advertising.
The Lindell broadcast and the so-called “report” are operated with a lengthy disclaimer aimed at avoiding liability for further reinforcement of unsupported claims against voting machine manufacturers and US electoral officials.
But it looks like a libel lawsuit is pending – one that could prove financially ruinous for the conservative upstart.
According to a Senior Fellow at Media Matters Matthew GertzThe disclaimer is at the top of the agenda and indicates a non-standard network that is “desperately looking for cash”.
In an email to Law & Crime, Charles HerringThe President of the OAN responded to the criticism of the liberal think tank with the words: “The history of the media is important [of] ‘credible reporting’ speaks for itself. “
OAN’s disclaimer attempt to distance itself from the content of Lindell’s program begins as follows:
Michael James Lindell has earned the airtime to broadcast this program on the One American News (“OAN”) network. Mr. Lindell is the sole author and executive producer of this program and is solely and solely responsible for its content. The topic of this broadcast is the 2020 election. OAN has carried out its own reporting on this topic. This program is not the product of OAN reporting. The views, opinions, and claims expressed in this program by Mr. Lindell and any other guest, presenter, producer, or advertiser are theirs and theirs and are not endorsed or endorsed by OAN or its owners.
The disclaimer points out in particular that the right-wing network does not specifically endorse Lindell’s claims that Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic are part of a large conspiracy to steal the 2020 elections by the former president Donald Trump.
“Specifically, OAN does not endorse or endorse any or all of the following companies or persons in this program: US Dominion Inc. (and related companies); Smartmatic USA Corp .; Brian Kemp;; Brad Raffensperger;; or Gabriel Sterling“Continues the message from the OAN Legal Department. “In addition, the statements and claims made in this program are presented at this time as opinions only and are not intended to be viewed or interpreted as established facts by the viewer.”
“The results of the 2020 presidential election continue to be contested and questioned by millions of Americans, who are entitled to hear from all sides to determine what may have happened,” the disclaimer concluded.
A tweet from the OAN account promoted Lindell’s “never-before-seen report breaking down evidence of electoral fraud and showing how unprecedented levels of electoral fraud were committed in the 2020 presidential election”.
Join Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow, on an unprecedented report that breaks down evidence of electoral fraud and shows how the unprecedented levels of electoral fraud were committed in the 2020 presidential election.
Switch to “Absolute Proof” on February 5th with Mike Lindell. Only on #OANN. pic.twitter.com/Qamcbpy2Ef
– One America News (@OANN) February 5, 2021
The senior attorney for one of Lindell’s goals says the disclaimer is nowhere near enough to evade liability for the broadcast of the Lindell program.
Thomas Clare is representing Dominion in a series of lawsuits against high profile Trump supporters, lawyers, and others who propagated these false conspiracy theories. Dominion recently advised OAN that their broadcasts were relevant to the company’s pending legal action and previously warned OAN and others that defamation lawsuits for the continued promotion of these unsupported voice-swap claims are “imminent.”
“Nice try by OAN, but it definitely doesn’t absolve them of liability,” Clare told Law & Crime. “On the contrary, we explicitly warned them in writing that they would be sending false and defamatory statements of fact if they broadcast the program, and they made the positive decision to ignore this warning and send it anyway.”
The attorney went on to claim that OAN was alone in their decision to air Lindell’s program before quoting an art term specific to the Defamation Act.
“Other outlets have refused to host it,” said Clare. “Textbook of Actual Malice.”
Herring emphasized that OAN had nothing to do with the content of the documentary.
“OAN sends the content as paid ad time,” he told Law & Crime. “We sold the airtime at fair market value. The paid content is very different from the OAN content. OAN did not support production. “
He said the Lindell production was two hours long and not looped, but aired several times today and over the weekend.[image via Stephen Maturen/Getty Images]
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