Naked Capitalism, a website accused of spreading fake news by The Washington Post, has demanded a retraction.
Yves Smith, aka Susan Webber, the editor of the financial news and analysis website, posted on Monday that First Amendment and defamation lawsuit lawyer Jim Moody will represent the website. Moody defended Linda Tripp, who worked in the Pentagon’s public affairs office and secretly recorded Monika Lewinsky.
On December 4, Moody sent a letter to the editor and publisher of the Post demanding the article be retracted and an apology issued. The Post reported Naked Capitalism and dozens of other sites peddle fake news as part of a Russian conspiracy to get Donald Trump elected.
“Fake News contains extremely damaging false allegations constituting defamation,” Moody said in the letter. “You did not provide even a single example of ‘fake news’ allegedly distributed or promoted by Naked Capitalism or indeed any of the 200 sites own the PropOrNot blacklist.”
Smith said in a post on the website that the shadowy group PropOrNot had deceived The Washington Post.
“I also hope, particularly for those of you who don’t regularly visit Naked Capitalism, that you’ll check out our related pieces that give more color to how the fact the Washington Post was taken for a ride by inept propagandists” at the anonymous site, Smith explained.
“If the site is flagrantly false with respect to things that can be checked, why pray tell did [The Washington Post] and its fellow useful idiots in the mainstream media validate and amplify its message? Strong claims demand strong proofs, yet the Post appeared content to give a megaphone to people who make stuff up with abandon. No wonder the members of PropOrNot hide as much as they can about what they are up to; more transparency would expose their work to be a tissue of lies,” Smith added.
U.S. News & World Report stated several news outlets are considering taking legal action against the Post.
“I haven’t had any financial damages yet, so that’s the only reason I haven’t started a libel suit,” the publisher of Blacklisted News, Doug Owen, told U.S. News & World Report.
Mark Allin of Above Top Secret and the editors of Counterpunch said they are keeping their options open. Jeffrey St. Clair said CounterPunch is “exploring our options and digging on our own into the misty background of PropOrNot.”
The Washington Post reported that the executive director of PropOrNot spoke with the paper “on the condition of anonymity to avoid being targeted by Russia’s legions of skilled hackers.”
Journalists are protected from revealing confidential sources under the First Amendment. In addition, courts have ruled reporters are protected under the Second, Third, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh amendments.