BuzzFeed unleashed a huge article that has been receiving heat as of late, due to the fact that it contained untrue and slanderous allegations that they reported as fact.
Now, BuzzFeed could be facing legal consequences after publishing a 35-page report that said Russian operatives had compromising information about Donald Trump and others, as per Daily Caller.
The report was compiled by a former British intelligence officer who is employed by a private firm in London. These reports were also shared with political operatives in the Democrat party and Congress.
If these allegations prove to be false, which they no doubt will be, the people mentioned in the documents by name will have just cause to lay a libel lawsuit at BuzzFeed‘s feet.
It doesn’t seem likely that Donald Trump would bring a lawsuit against a media organization, but the aides who were mentioned who are currently outside of the administration will definitely be able to file their own actions against the website.
One such individual is a man by the name of Michael Cohen, who was counsel for the Trump Organization. The outcomes of this are unclear as of yet, however, according to a professor of journalism ethics, Kathleen Bartzen Culver.
She is a media ethicist who teaches media law, but she is not a legal expert. She stated, “Given that we don’t yet know…the veracity of the information in [the dossier], it’s really far too early to be making educated guesses at what would happen if someone endeavored to prove [defamation].”
According to Culver, in a defamation lawsuit, there is a difference between public figures and private figures. Most of the people named in the documents could be considered public figures, but it is possible that some could be seen as private.
The libel standard for public figures is higher than private figures—public figures have to demonstrate that the press did make false statements with cruel intent and malice. So, they would have to prove that the information is false and that BuzzFeed published this article with malice, which I would bet they did.
Culver claimed that BuzzFeed may choose to state that they published the information knowing it wasn’t confirmed but allowed the American people who read the information to make their own assumptions about it.
That excuse just doesn’t pass the smell test. Does BuzzFeed always publish unsubstantiated nonsense? If not malice, for what other purpose could they have published this information? BuzzFeed needs to answer for their slanderous article because they are encouraging nothing but division in this country.
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