On Monday, Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon announced that The New York Times had agreed to drop its arguably defamatory attack on the Babylon Bee after the Bee sent multiple demand letters threatening a defamation lawsuit. Under the guise of reporting, the Times claimed that the Bee “frequently trafficked in misinformation under the guise of satire.” While the Times originally agreed to weaken the attack somewhat, its updated story still suggested that the Bee is one of the “far-right misinformation sites that used ‘satire’ claims to protect their presence on [Facebook].”
Yet the Times finally agreed to drop the attacks altogether on Friday.
“Big update here. The [New York Times] has responded to our demand letter by removing defamatory statements about us from their article. Here’s their email to our counsel notifying us of the correction,” Dillon announced on Twitter Monday.
Dillon shared an email from Dana Green, The Times‘ senior counsel, to Bee attorney Noah Tennyson. “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.”
The CEO explained that the article originally called the Bee “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 [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 [Snopes] and [Facebook] about whether we’re misinformation or satire. But that wasn’t true, either,” Dillon added.
“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,” Dillon explained.
“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,” the latest Times correction runs. “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.”
Dillon rightly celebrated this victory.
“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,” the Bee CEO noted. “Thanks to everyone who voiced and offered their support. We don’t have to take this nonsense lying down. Remember that.”
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.
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) June 14, 2021
PJ Media reached out to Dillon, asking whether or not the Bee will continue to consider legal action. From the CEO’s statements, it seems the Times‘ latest correction will settle the matter.
Snopes has repeatedly targeted The Babylon Bee, declaring in one instance, “We’re not sure if fanning the flames of controversy and muddying the details of a news story classify an article as ‘satire.’” It appears Snopes has been trying to deplatform the conservative satire site. USA Today has also gone after the Bee.
Last October, Facebook demonetized The Babylon Bee, claiming that a satirical article that quoted Monty Python and the Holy Grail constituted an incitement to violence.
The Babylon Bee makes leftists uncomfortable because it hilariously satirizes their ideologies from a conservative Christian perspective. The Bee is also an equal-opportunity offender, savagely mocking the foibles of evangelical culture. It seems some on the Left can’t bear for their opponents to have a good laugh.