MSNBC Is Being Dragged to Trial in $30 Million Defamation Suit By Doctor

News & Politics

When it rains, it pours for the liberal media. While CNN is facing a $1 billion defamation suit for allegedly slandering a security contractor, MSNBC was on the receiving end of a $30 million defamation suit for allegedly doing the same to a Georgia gynecologist who was seeing illegal immigrants at the direction of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). And in this instance too, the judge found that a jury could potentially find “actual malice” on MSNBC’s part.

According to Judge Lisa Godbey Wood’s order for the case to go to trial (no trial date has been set yet), plaintiff Dr. Mahendra Amin “has presented sufficient evidence that could enable a jury to find actual malice” because of extensive internal communications and notes from MSNBC  hosts,  producers, reporters, and Standards and Practices folks questioning the report even before going to air.

“A jury could also conclude that NBC did not act with actual malice given the evidence that it published opposing information. This duel of conflicting evidence must be resolved by a jury,” Wood added.

The suit stems from a series of on-air reports conducted between September 15 and 17 of 2020. In their reports, MSNBC reporters Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff and hosts Nicolle Wallace, Chris Hayes, and Rachel Maddow parroted a letter of unverified whistleblower claims that Amin was abusing female illegal immigrants he was seeing as patients, performing unnecessary hysterectomies, and that he was known as the “uterus collector.”

But while they took that reporting to literal prime time, internal discussions at the network showed skepticism of what they were saying.

In an email to Soboroff and Ainsley, the senior deputy of NBCUniversal’s Standards and Practices, Chris Scholl had deep concerns about the validity of the report, evening noting that all the information they had came from one source he admitted had “an agenda”:

As I’ve been mulling, my concern is all we have is a public whistleblower complaint in which she provides no evidence to back up her claims. ICE makes essentially the same point, and it appears a valid one. She has no direct knowledge of what she’s claiming, is unable to name the doctor involved (if I understood correctly), and we are unable to verify any of it or determine whether there really is a story here. Essentially, it boils down to a single source—with an agenda—telling us things we have no basis to believe are true. At the least, we would have to note all of that in our reporting, but then it’s worth asking why we are reporting it in the first place. I think we need more of our own independent reporting before going with this. ICE’s statement alone doesn’t get us there.

In a conversation that included Hayes, Scholl admitted: “We don’t know if [Amin] did anything wrong here . . . . In fact, the guy has a pretty clean record.” Adding: “And the whistleblower has no direct knowledge of this stuff . . . . [S]he kind of has a beef, right? She’s got a whole separate agenda here.”

Hayes said the quiet part out loud in that “the reason it went viral” was because it “conjured the worst kind of like Third Reich, . . . sort of . . . Jim Crow, Mississippi Hospital history.”

Essentially, it fit perfectly into the narrative they had painted about the Trump administration and it’s immigration policies.

Hayes admitted all of that, “is not the case here.”

Maddow also had expressed concerns about the story in a production meeting and was unsure they should give it airtime on her show:

In a preproduction meeting, a producer for the show said that the “hysterectomy part [of the whistleblower letter] is largely based on [Wooten] and anon[ymous] accounts.” Id. at 3. Maddow commented that there was “a lot of jumping to conclusions around the complaint . . . I don’t want to assume it’s true[,] but if it is we should definitely do it. Unsure if we should leave room in the show or not.”

It’s worth noting that this case exposed how things run behind the scenes at the sister networks. Despite NBCUniversal’s outward façade that MSNBC and NBC News were separate opinion and news divisions, it was all a charade as reporters and executives moved effortlessly between the two.

[H/T The Washington Free Beacon]

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