The conservative college Liberty University has filed a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times after the paper falsely reported a coronavirus outbreak at the university, according to the New York Post.
The story, titled “Liberty University Brings Back Its Students, and Coronavirus Fears, Too,” was published on March 29th. The school said that the Times’ story drastically misrepresented what they were told by a doctor at the school, especially considering that the doctor would not have been “the most knowledgeable on the subject” of possible coronavirus infections.
The doctor in question told the Times that at least 12 students had “upper respiratory infections,” which the paper assumed meant they were infected with the coronavirus. However, upper respiratory infections are actually tantamount to a common cold, instead of the “lower respiratory infections” that are more symptomatic of the coronavirus.
As such, the lawsuit claims, not a single student at Liberty’s campus was actually diagnosed with the Chinese virus, even after classes ended two months after spring break. This meant that the story was nothing more than “clickbait,” the lawsuit alleges, where ‘the only actual ‘viral’ element of this narrative that existed was the intense ‘viral’ internet attention it generated for the New York Times.”