The Grey Old Lady, a.k.a. the New York Times has been caught in presenting their own opinion as fact, a New York Supreme Court judge found, and Project Veritas will now be able to put all those involved in the paper’s decision-making process under oath in a defamation suit.
Veritas accused the New York Times of acting with “actual malice” and “reckless disregard” in a number of articles covering a 2020 video report from Project Veritas. It covered allegations of illegal voting practices in Minnesota.
In another case, a Veritas video report led to the arrest of a Texas political consultant on charges of election fraud and illegal voting.
The New York Times sought to have the case dismissed. That won’t happen.
The New York Times keeps saying it runs all the news that’s fit to print, while Veritas uses its name for its reason for existence (raison d’être): Veritas means truth.
Project Veritas uses undercover and whistleblowing videos to prove its points. Journalism theoreticians may debate ad nauseam whether this is pure reporting trade or not, but the result remains: they usually hit the bull’s eye with shocking precision.
Here’s what happened: New York Times reporters Maggie Astor and Tiffany Hsu wrote about Veritas videos from Minnesota. These recordings showed a number of people participating in (or, at least, debating) what is known as ballot harvesting. The entire scenario was linked to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota).
According to the Veritas report, someone paid for the ballots and, on some occasions, filled them out to help some candidates. As luck would have it, the candidates supposed to benefit all represented the Democratic Party.
One ballot harvester has claimed Veritas offered him money to connect the alleged fraud to Rep. Omar, and that, on top of it, the footage Veritas showed was edited, thus making it unacceptable.
Project Veritas, as could be expected, denied the allegation.
What became the issue was the New York Times’ reporting. It called the Veritas tapes deceptive. Judge Charles Wood read the five New York Times articles, watched the footage, and ruled that Maggie Astor and Tiffany Hsu wrote opinion pieces rather than news.
In his 16-page decision, Judge Wood wrote: “The Articles that are the subject of this action called the Video ‘deceptive,’ but the dictionary definitions of ‘disinformation’ and ‘deceptive’ provided by defendants’ counsel certainly apply to Astor’s and Hsu’s failure to note that they injected their opinions in news articles, as they now claim.”
Veritas, Astor wrote, had a “long history” of releasing “manipulated or selectively edited” footage. Meanwhile, Hsu called the video “deceptive.”
This kind of loaded words, Judge Wood wrote, “could be viewed as exposing Veritas to ridicule and harm to its reputation as a media source because the reader may read these news Articles, expecting facts, not opinion, and conclude that Veritas is a partisan zealot group, deceptively editing video, and presenting it as news.”
Legal beagles for the New York Times tried to convince the Judge that readers could determine that specific wording such as “deceptive” is opinion-based and cited other news outlets that used similar language.
Judge Wood would have none of that. The paper did not meet “their burden to prove that the reporting by Veritas in the Video is deceptive,” he wrote.
So far as Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe is concerned, the New York Times’ reporters, as well as their executive editor Dean Baquet, will now be put under oath “where they will be forced to answer our questions.”
Whether O’Keefe is counting his chickens before they hatch or not, remains to be seen, yet.
In any case, Judge James Wood’s decision seems to indicate that not even the Grey Old Lady knows above any reasonable doubt whether all the news they print is fit to be printed.