ABC network, along with employees Diane Sawyer and Jim Avila are asking a judge to dismiss a $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit regarding the networks reporting on lean, finely textured beef products. ABC had nicknamed the product “pink slime,” which Beef Products Inc. claims led to significant losses. BPI filed the lawsuit in 2012 claiming the reporting led to the closure of three plants and roughly 700 layoffs. However, in the request for dismissal, ABC argues that the number of reports was driven primarily by questions from viewers. The Washington Post reports ABC’s argument counters the lawsuit’s characterization of the network’s coverage as a “vicious, concerted disinformation campaign against BPI.” Court documents recently filed by ABC argue the work was done in the public’s interest as consumers were unaware that the product at the time was present in 70 percent of the ground beef sold in supermarkets. The case is currently slated to go to trial in June.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.