On August 28th, a federal judge ruled that a defamation suit brought by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin against The New York Times can proceed to trial.
In reviewing the case, the North Carolina Supreme Court found that the reporter had omitted important information and mispresented quotes from sources. This, along with other evidence, led the court to conclude that article's false statements had not resulted from "mere negligence" but from a "purposeful avoidance of the truth."
Though Daniels claimed that Trump’s use of the term “con job” implied that she had committed criminal fraud, the appeals court reasoned that this was only one of a number of possible ways to read the President's tweet. Ultimately, the appeals court ruled the tweet an opinion and, thus, not actionable.
The Washington Post announced on July 24th that it had reached a settlement with the parents of a Kentucky teenager who sued the newspaper last year over its depiction of an encounter between their son and a Native American activist. A spokesperson for The Post did not disclose the terms of the agreement.
Public officials using libel suits as a weapon against the press is nothing new. In the time of Times v. Sullivan, southern officials had brought nearly $300 million in libel actions against the press. For reference, Nunes alone has brought just over $900 million in defamation claims in a twelve-month period.
"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,” Bashant wrote. Adding, "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.”
SmileDirectClub, a company that sells teeth straightening kits directly to consumers, has sued NBC News and reporter Vicky Nguyen over a story that suggested the product may cause oral health problems.
On April 28th, Sean Hannity, a Fox News host, threatened to sue The New York Times over a column that linked a Brooklyn bar owner’s death from coronavirus to Hannity’s comments that downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic.