ABC News has a problem on its hands; it’s being forced to pay out almost the entirety of the money it made last year because of a fake news story they were busted publishing.
The Disney-owned company was sued for a massive sum of money over the now-infamous “pink slime” story it published last year, resulting in a judge awarding the plaintiffs $177 million for defamation.
The case arose from a 2012 story in which Jim Avila falsely reported the contents of ground beef being sold by Beef Products Inc., which Avila referred to as “pink slime” over 137 times in his reports, according to the Daily Caller. As a result of Avila’s fake news, BPI was forced to shutter three of its four processing plants and lost 80 percent of its revenues, totaling $520 million.
BPI sued Disney for billions, and the case was just settled out of court for $177 million, which many believe was done so that Disney didn’t have to deal with the publicity from a drawn-out defamation case.
Last year, ABC News posted a $200 million profit, which means that this one series of stories cause Disney to lose nearly all of its revenue from the new outlet, which is losing credibility by the day.
More on the lawsuit from the Caller:
Lawyers for BPI argued that ABC’s reporting used unreliable sources and set out to foment public outrage during a January hearing. BPI attorney Erik Connolly said that the reports amounted to “fake news.”
The trial started in June in Elk Point, S.D., a town of about 2,000 people located just 20 miles north of BPI’s headquarters, a long way from ABC News headquarters in New York.
The trial centered around BPI’s main product, which was made from beef chunks, including trimmings, as well as ammonium hydroxide to kill E. coli and other bacteria.
ABC News reported on the product in 2012, referring to the product as “pink slime” at least 137 times, according to BPI lawyers.
It would be nice to think that this lawsuit and the subsequent settlement would be enough to teach ABC News a lesson, but it likely isn’t.