N&O loses libel suit to the tune of $9 million

Still waiting on the GOP to whine about tort reform:

The arguments on punitive damages were held Wednesday morning as a trial-within-a-trial. As a guide to their deliberations, the jurors were told by Judge Shirley that as of Aug. 28, The News & Observer Publishing Co. had a net worth of $248.2 million.

During the arguments on punitive damages, Johnson urged the jurors to send a strong message to the newspaper. “Do they get that? Do they understand?” Johnson said. “It’s almost like they consider Beth collateral damage in a war. When you bomb a village, people get killed, but it’s not our problem.”

Before any readers arrive at the conclusion the N&O got its “just desserts” for reckless reporting, keep in mind their series on the SBI revealed some serious flaws in their evidence gathering and analysis. Flaws that contributed to the incarceration and even execution of innocent people. The gathering of information, especially when interviewing sources (who may or may not be prejudiced), is an extremely difficult task. And legally precarious, if those sources later recant, or claim the item wasn’t discussed. Not saying that’s what happened in *this* case, but I find it hard to believe Locke would intentionally misquote somebody, knowing that individual would read those words when published a few days later. It’s not logical. Then again, human beings are very often not logical.

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