Jun 28, 2017

ABC settles $1.9 billion "pink slime" defamation suit

AP / Nati Harnik

ABC has settled a $1.9 billion defamation lawsuit from Beef Products Inc. News for referring to the South Dakota company's meat product as "pink slime."

The lawsuit went to trial earlier this month for several weeks after a South Dakota judge ruled in March that ABC journalists "were reckless" in their reporting and that "they engaged in purposeful avoidance of the truth." The terms of the settlement are confidential.

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 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 have been looking at up to $5.7 billion in charges. ABC stands by its original 2012 report.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 883,225 — Total deaths: 44,156 — Total recoveries: 185,377Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 189,753 — Total deaths: 4,090 — Total recoveries: 7,141Map.
  3. Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index: It's "a tale of two Americas" as the rich are more likely to work from home and the poor are more likely to report to work.
  4. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  5. State updates: Washington and California appear to have slowed their surges of new cases — Florida cases have been doubling the past four days, approaching 7,000.
  6. NYPD: Over 1,400 of its employees have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
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Private equity hits the brakes amid coronavirus recovery uncertainties

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Private equity is still working on opportunistic deals when it can get a break from portfolio triage, but it's also boarding up the exits amid new questions about the speed of the coronavirus recovery.

The state of play: Sale processes are being shelved daily, even ones that already launched with investment bankers, data rooms, and interested suitors.

China's medical diplomacy is empowering euroskeptic leaders

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Chinese government has embarked on a highly publicized campaign to provide vital medical supplies to European countries as they fight coronavirus outbreaks within their borders.

Why it matters: Those efforts — and the perception that the European Union has done little to help — are providing fodder for politicians who are eager to hail China and criticize the EU. EU leaders may now have to worry about both Chinese and Russian overtures that weaken European unity.

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