Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. has slapped a $10 million lawsuit against the New York Times for a false for and a damaging story on Coronavirus that was circulated throughout the Internet. The NYT story was peddling the fake news that students returning from spring break became infected with the coronavirus because the school stayed open.
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- Liberty University has filed a $10M lawsuit against the New York Times for fake news on Coronavirus
- The NYT story was peddling the fake news that students returning from spring break became infected with the coronavirus because the school stayed open
- The fake news was peddled under headlines saying “Liberty Brings Back Its Students, and Coronavirus, Too” and “A University Reopened, and Students Got Sick”
- The college will donate any money it may win in a suit decision to groups for coronavirus relief
The New York Times published and distributed fake news under headlines saying “Liberty Brings Back Its Students, and Coronavirus, Too” and “A University Reopened, and Students Got Sick.” A subheading said, “The decision by the school’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr., to partly reopen his evangelical university enraged residents of Lynchburg, Va. Then students started getting sick.”
In fact we finished the school year without a single reported case of COVID-19 on campus.
— Jerry Falwell (@JerryFalwellJr) July 15, 2020
“None of this was true. There was never an on-campus student diagnosed with COVID-19. The only actual ‘viral’ element of this narrative that existed was the intense ‘viral’ internet attention it generated for the New York Times’ website and for those paying to advertise on that website,” said the suit. The story was never retracted or investigated for its truth.
$10M Lawsuit against the New York Times
The 100-page suit was filed in Virginia’s Lynchburg Circuit Court. The 49-year-old school also said that New York Times reporter Elizabeth Williamson and photographer Julia Rendleman took no notice of “No Trespassing” signs. They came in to tour the campus at a time when the school was trying to keep outsiders at bay as they could potentially be infected with COVID-19.
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JUST POSTED: “We need help to go home.” I visited Liberty U. as the consequences of Jerry Falwell's decision to reopen the campus amid a pandemic came home to roost. https://t.co/sglQgqzqo8
— Elizabeth Williamson (@NYTLiz) March 29, 2020
This suit arises from a viral story released on March 29 which, suggests that several students were infected after coming back from spring break. In reality, there is no student, staffer, or any faculty member on campus who was previously infected or became infected now.
The suit also states that Liberty, which was started by the late Jerry Falwell and is now run by his son Jerry Falwell Jr., has been routinely targeted by the media, primarily the New York Times.
‘Shrugged off the suit’
Eileen Murphy, the Times’ senior vice president of corporate communications, shrugged off the suit in a statement she delivered on Wednesday evening. She said that the New York Times is confident that its story accurately depicted and they ‘look forward’ to ‘defending’ their work in the court. She is of the opinion that the reopening of the Liberty University raised public health concerns that must be looked into.
A Second Embarrassment
In two days the New York Times had to face a second embarrassment. On Tuesday, well-known writer and top NY Times editor Bari Weiss quit and ripped the paper in a public letter asserting that its coverage is propelled by “clicks” and Twitter for the NY Times.
“Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper….”
Resignation Letter — Bari Weiss https://t.co/ifwEqN1j25
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) July 15, 2020
In April, Falwell pushed for warrants against the reporter and photographer for trespassing. Although the case was dropped the photographer wrote in the New York Times, “I do, however, need Jerry Falwell Jr.’s permission to ever return to Liberty University.”
The suit outlined numerous errors in the story that was originally published by the New York Times. The NYT reported that the school reopened after spring break. In reality what happened was the Liberty University let back some 1,500 of 15,000 students who didn’t return home as they were foreign.
Even virus protections were put in places, the university also followed social distancing. Numerous other colleges and universities commended the same thing. To fully confirm, the state health department performed surprise inspections and found everything in compliance with Virginia Gov.
Another illustration of why the lying @nytimes and other mainstream #FakeNews publications are failing financially and have lost the public’s trust. ZERO COVID cases on campus @LibertyU and the campus just closed for the semester @NYTLiz ! https://t.co/bY8oXqKsl4
— Jerry Falwell (@JerryFalwellJr) May 7, 2020
As an effort to mitigate the impacts of this pandemic, Falwell said the college will donate any money it may win in a suit decision to groups for relief during the coronavirus pandemic.
Liberty holds New York Times liable for the damaging, malicious and false reporting. The way they violated the measures Liberty took to protect its students is really offending. ‘Politically-motivated attacks’ by the news media should not be allowed in the United States of America and will not be endured by Liberty University.
For latest updates on the outbreak check out our Coronavirus Coverage.
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