‘We Pushed Back Hard And Won’: NYT Walks Back ‘Smear’ Against Babylon Bee After Legal Threat
NEW YORK - JULY 23: Copies of the New York Times sit for sale in a rack July 23, 2008 in New York City. The New York broadsheet announced it posted an 82 percent decline in second quarter profits as compared to last year. It also announced it would raise its newsstand price 25 cents to a $1.50.
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The New York Times has issued a correction after referring to the Babylon Bee, a satire site, as a “far-right misinformation site.”

The Times issued the correction after receiving a letter from the Bee’s legal counsel demanding a correction to the article. Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon said that the label the Times used was false and “defamatory.”

“Big update here. The [New York Times] has responded to our demand letter by removing defamatory statements about us from their article,” Dillon wrote Monday on Twitter. He shared a screenshot of an email from the senior counsel at the Times to the counsel at the Bee. The email said that the Times had corrected its article and removed references to the Bee as “far-right misinformation.”

“I write in response to your letter of June 2, received by the Times on June 8. We have carefully reviewed the the [sic] concerns raised in your letter and, in response to those concerns, we have removed the reference to the Babylon Bee from the article and appended a correction,” Times senior counsel Dana Green wrote.


Dillon explained the saga with the Times:

Originally, the article said we were a far-right misinformation site. It pointed to us—and only us—as an example of a site that misuses the satire label to protect our presence on social media sites that would otherwise ban us for spreading fake stories.

We objected to this pretty strongly, so [Time reporter Mike Isaac] removed the sentence that said we trafficked in misinformation. In its place, he put an update that said we’d feuded with [fact-checking site Snopes] and [Facebook] about whether we’re misinformation or satire. But that wasn’t true, either.

This latest correction, however, no longer mentions the Bee as an example of a far-right misinformation site that pretends to be doing satire. And it notes that neither Snopes nor Facebook maintain that we’re misinformation.

This is huge. The NY Times was using misinformation to smear us as being a source of it. That’s not merely ironic; it’s malicious. We pushed back hard and won. Thanks to everyone who voiced and offered their support. We don’t have to take this nonsense lying down. Remember that.

The fight between the Times and the Bee began on March 19 when the Times published an article titled “For Political Cartoonists, the Irony Was That Facebook Didn’t Recognize Irony.” In the article, the Times referred to the Bee as a “far-right misinformation site” that “sometimes trafficked in misinformation under the guise of satire.” That reference has now been removed and a correction posted to the bottom of the article that says:

An earlier version of this article referred imprecisely to the Babylon Bee, a right-leaning satirical website, and a controversy regarding the handling of its content by Facebook and the fact-checking site Snopes. While both Facebook and Snopes previously have classified some Babylon Bee articles as misinformation, rather than satire, they have dropped those claims, and the Babylon Bee denies that it has trafficked in misinformation.

Related: EXCLUSIVE: Babylon Bee Team Talks NYT Retraction, Life As Media Target

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