- A defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post has been reopened, drawing attention to the paper’s misleading account of a confrontation between a teenage Trump supporter and an activist.
- The paper is also defending itself against allegations that it sugarcoated the brutality of an ISIS leader in order to push an anti-Trump agenda.
- While political bias in the media exists, it’s hard to quantify and even harder to change as most readers are willing to accept it.
The so-called ‘fake news’ debate in America heated up this week as the Washington Post found itself in hot water over two separate issues that appeared to suggest the paper was pushing an anti-Trump agenda. However, despite harsh criticism from the right, the Washington Post’s alleged left-leaning tendencies are unlikely to hurt its credibility among readers. In fact, accusations that the paper’s reporting is influenced by anti-Trump views could actually make Democrats trust it more.
Washington Post Sued for Defamation
Earlier this year, Nicholas Sandmann sued the Washington Post for defamation after the paper suggested he and his high-school aged friends assaulted and intimidated Nathan Phillips, a Native American activist. After an edited video of the encounter became national news, the long-form recording of the event showed that Sandmann and his friends were actually harassed themselves and were trying to deescalate the situation.
The lawsuit was originally dismissed, but this week U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman reopened the case. Bertelsman said three allegedly defamatory statements that claimed Sandmann “blocked” Phillips and “would not allow him to retreat” should be investigated further.
Cases like these are hard to win, though. Florida trial attorney Donald E. Petersen says the Washington Post’s First Amendment privilege will make it difficult for Sandmann to win.