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A $1.9 billion defamation lawsuit against ABC News for referring to a South Dakota company's meat product as "pink slime" is going to trial after a South Dakota judge ruled that ABC journalists "were reckless" in their reporting and that "they engaged in purposeful avoidance of the truth."

The judge dismissed a five-year-old defamation suit against Diane Sawyer but left open cases against several other journalists, include Emmy-winning reporter Jim Avila. The "pink slime" controversy gained national attention for crippling the beef company, and affecting employment. The network has repeatedly defended its reporting, calling the suit meritless.

Why it matters: The case is another First Amendment test for the media, and will further define the scope of food libel laws across the country. The South Dakota food libel law that this suit is based on triples the amount of reported damages if a news organization knowingly lied about food safety claims, meaning ABC could be looking at up to $5.7 billion in charges.

Go deeper

Kamala Harris, the new left's insider

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images     

Progressive leaders see Sen. Kamala Harris, if she's elected vice president, as their conduit to a post-Biden Democratic Party where the power will be in younger, more diverse and more liberal hands.

  • Why it matters: The party's rising left sees Harris as the best hope for penetrating Joe Biden's older, largely white inner circle.

If Biden wins, Harris will become the first woman, first Black American and first Indian American to serve as a U.S. vice president — and would instantly be seen as the first in line for the presidency should Biden decide against seeking a second term.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.