The Lawsuit Against Gateway Pundit Highlights the Dangers of Misinformation

Last week, Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, two Fulton County, Georgia, election workers, filed a defamation lawsuit against The Gateway Pundit, and its publisher Jim Hoft and contributor Joe Hoft. 

The right-wing media company, which has a history of promoting falsehoods, had specifically targeted both Freeman, a temporary election worker during the 2020 election, and her daughter, Moss, a Fulton County registration officer, with false claims. The suit includes chilling details showing how the misinformation campaign made both women fear for their lives.

And in response? The Gateway Pundit published a story doubling down on the very same claims that brought about the suit in the first place.

On December 2, the site published a story headlined “Ruby Freeman and Daughter Sue Gateway Pundit for Posting Video of Her Shoving Ballots Through Voting Machines Numerous Times – PLEASE HELP US Fight This Latest Lawsuit.” 

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  • This is sad. I hope the lawsuit succeeds because what Gateway Pundit has done to these women is terrible. GP has destroyed their lives and deserves to burn for it.

  • People are not really that stupid... well some are... but the majority do not trust most single sources unless those sources have proven to deal in objective truth... even if with a tinge of bias.

    The belief comes from a preponderance of facts. And one strong fact supporting the suitcases of ballots story was the fact that never in this modern time had a national election counts in most of the swing states paused over night while one candidate was significantly in the lead, only to see in the morning that the other candidate got almost all of those late votes to take the lead.

    That is still a fact unexplained.

    1. Boone, it’s been explained literally a billion times. I can’t believe this is still coming up.

    2. Unexplained, you say:

  • This lawsuit is great because truth is a defense to defamation. The Gateway Pundit will thus be entitled to take the sworn depositions of Freeman and everyone else involved in the vote counting to find out what really happened in Fulton. (It would have been nice to hear from Freeman at the time, but the FBI was too busy putting her in hiding). Whatever the truth is, it will be important to know.

    Naturally, David French and The Dispatch have already decided that if self-interested parties deny misconduct that means it never happened. But that kind of prejudice doesn't always age well when the real facts come out.

    Actually, I'm just kidding. There is no way in hell the powers sponsoring this lawsuit will allow discovery to take place. If they can't force the GP to settle (and it probably won't), they will find some way to stall and stall and then eventually dismiss the case if that's what they have to do to avoid discovery.

    The real purpose of this lawsuit is to create a legally privileged press release that hack journalists and pundits can misrepresent as being facts rather than mere allegations.

  • This is a critical lawsuit. The people at Gateway Pundit are not only putting the two election workers through hell and defaming them, but are selling snake oil to millions of Americans. The public's and the Republic's injury from the snake oil, apparently, cannot be made into a lawsuit. That's too bad. The lies that defame, injure, and put at risk the lives and livelihood of the poll workers are lawsuit material. Gateway Pundit should be sued out of its proverbial jock strap.

  • The problem with policing disinformation is that there is no way to police the demand side. This has nothing to do with the lawsuit in question, but it does relate to the commonly advocated approach to the broader issue.

    1. one has to break the disinformation positive feedback loop.

  • Best of luck to those ladies in court. I do hope they get their justice for the damages incurred from conspiracy theorists with an outsized platform. I wouldn't lose any sleep if the damages cause GP to close up shop for good and sends a message to other outlets who knowingly pull that crap.

  • I hope the GP & it’s founders are sued into bankruptcy. That’s the only way to stop this stuff.

    1. I also hope they are sued into bankruptcy, but I don't think it will stop. This is like playing whack-a-mole.

  • I bet all the people cheering Kyle Rittenhouse to sue CNN are eagerly awaiting the results of this lawsuit

    1. Did CNN ever present falsehoods as facts when it comes to Kyle Rittenhouse? They may have had a strong editorial leaning that Kyle was guilty, but that's different than making up events that never happened. I don't think they should have taken an editorial stance when reporting news, but that's a lesser offense than simply making s*** up.

    2. I love being an independent voter. I don't have to defend anyone's positions, inconsistencies, or hypocrisies but my own.

      1. Spoiler alert: you don't have to be an independent to do that. I consider myself somewhat of a Republican at this point (limited to non-Trump worshippers) but that doesn't mean I have to agree with, much less support every stupid statement that's ever made by someone with an R next to their name. Admittedly, some of my friends are quite stunned by this.

  • Hey there Dispatch team,

    Just in case you didn't know, I wanted to share with you this article where your pals at the Heritage Foundation teamed up with Newsmax to cast doubt on the AZ election AFTER the sham audit was completed.

    Does the Dispatch team take issue with the folks at Heritage collaborating with Newsmax in this capacity..? Asking for a friend.

    1. So let me get this straight:
      1. Dispatch has occasionally run pieces by Heritage authors;
      2. One Heritage author - not printed in TD - has written an opinion about the Maricopa audit in collaboration with Newsmax;
      3. Newsmax has run several stories that advance the Stolen Election narrative;
      4. Therefore, anyone collaborating with Newsmax on a piece about election integrity must support the Stolen Election narrative;
      5. Therefore, if Heritage does not renounce this author, they are supporting the Stolen Election narrative;
      6. Therefore, if Dispatch does not renounce Heritage, they are supporting the Stolen Election narrative. Q.E.D.

      Y’know, when I say it like that, it sounds kinda silly.

      1. So, considering my clarification below, you have to ask yourself at what point facilitation becomes tacit support.

        And I would rather not hear from you some hogwash that boils down to, "they are just asking questions" which is the best fig leaf for Heritage here, and that is as transparent as the day is long.

      2. You have it right until you get to #5. On numbers 1-4, you've understood me perfectly.

        While I cannot claim Heritage has an official position of adherence to the Big Lie. However, it is true that through the arm of this fellow, they are collaborating in spreading the Big Lie, official position be damned (it's also a forgone conclusion that at least some viewers will assume this is the position of Heritage by virtue of this appearance.)

        And on number six, no, that is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that by platforming Heritage fellows, they are platforming folks that are collaborating with the Big Lie, and that seems out of step with Dispatch's position on the matter; rejection of the Big Lie.

        It probably sounds silly because your last two assumptions were not what I said. Hope this helps you sort it out.

        1. And by "this fellow", you mean the guy whose title is listed as "Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative". Meaning that his actual job is writing and speaking about election law reforms. Which is exactly what he was doing, albeit not in the most savory place, IMO.

          You say my last two assumptions weren't what you said. Okay, let's look at what you said:

          A: "your pals at the Heritage Foundation teamed up with Newsmax to cast doubt on the AZ election."

          B: "it is true that through the arm of this fellow, they are collaborating in spreading the Big Lie"

          C: "by platforming Heritage fellows, they are platforming folks that are collaborating with the Big Lie"

          For starters, how are A and B not equal to my #5? I mean, assuming "Big Lie" refers to what I called "the Stolen Election narrative", which it seems to do. You explicitly claim (twice!) that by giving him a platform and not renouncing him, Heritage is collaborating in the Big Lie. That sounds an awful lot like #5 to me.

          But the problem with that is that Heritage isn't a monolithic organization. Like most think tanks, its members are independent pundits or authors who choose their own appearances. HvB wasn't sent out to Newsmax by some boss or editor; he went out there as an expert on election law. Again, I could wish he'd picked someplace else to grind his axe, but the fact remains that, even if you think he did wrong, whatever wrong he did is on him, not the organization with which he is affiliated (as one of 105 listed "Experts".)

          Now I'll admit there is a little bit of room between C and #6. So if you want to say that #6 isn't what you said, then I'll grant you that. But what you did say is no more true. Platforming those other Heritage fellows just means TD is giving a platform to those specific experts. (Presumably because they have something interesting and intelligent to say on the topics they're writing about, which is literally what I pay TD for.) They are not giving a platform to the entire Heritage Foundation.

          Even if you consider Heritage's independent experts to be "employees", and even if you believe that a leader is responsible for the bad actions of his subordinates, surely you don't hold subordinates responsible for the actions of other subordinates, right?

          But we're not even talking about those subordinates, are we? Because the real target of your snarky, trollish post was The Dispatch. The whole point of your 6-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon was to tie the TD guys to this guy that you considered embarrassing for them, and so shame them with guilt by association. And for what? To score points? To give the guys on your team a laugh? To impress a girl? In my day, bullies just shoved you in a locker; that seems like a lot less work.

          1. As I explained, I stop short of your #5, because I don't know if Heritage has a stated position in favor of the big lie. Since I don't know that, I can't speak to it.

            What is unavoidable is that Heritage is facilitating the Big Lie by allowing a fellow to appear on this show as an expert based on his work at Heritage and then facilitating the Big Lie during that appearance.

            I am not trying this guy to The Dispatch at all either, I am advising The Dispatch that folks who tend to overlap with TD and even sometimes publish here are facilitating the Big Lie. If I tell someone their old roommate stole a car, that does not mean I am accusing that person of participation in the crime. I might be a tattletale, but I didn't lump Dispatch in with Heritage or Newsmax. I never said Dispatch is facilitating the Big Lie by mere historic overlap with folks from Heritage. I never said Dispatch was guilty of anything by association with anything. You made that assumption on your own.

            Again, your over reaction to this is based on your last stage misunderstanding of what I said. Whether that misunderstanding is deliberate or not I can't say.

          2. Do you honestly not understand that the fellow from Heritage appeared on Newsmax AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF HERITAGE.

            His whole qualification for being a guest and speaking to the issue is his work at Heritage. How is this mysterious?

            If some foreign policy person from the Biden admin is on a Sunday morning show to discuss foreign policy toward Russia, it would be utterly foolish and/or dishonest to suggest that person in no way represents the Biden administration; it's the whole god-damned reason the person is on the show.

    2. Heritage is a privately funded policy center. They provide a wide range of topics and analysis/opinions. And from what I have seen they have a willingness to speak to many different people, but “teaming up” with Newsmax is disinformation in its own right.
      And any position or analysis by any think tank must always be examined closely.

      1. Ah, definitions.. the Achilles' heel of so much conservative analysis

        Yeah, so I don't think calling this "teaming up" is disinformation at all. The definition of teaming up is to work together.

        That is exactly what was happening in the Newsmax interview. A fellow from the Heritage Foundation and Newsmax worked together in this instance with for the purpose of casting doubt and extending concern over the election in AZ.

        The reason I bring it up here, is because there is significant overlap in the Venn's of Heritage, legacy NR circles and the Dispatch. Folks for Heritage have been printed here.

        Considering how much attention has been given here to movement efforts to undermine democracy in the last two years, I thought it was worth pointing out that Heritage is, at least in this instance, part of that problem.

        1. Reading the transcript, I don’t see it.

          A) this is one Heritage person, not the official position of The Heritage Foundation

          B) He says the following of the election audit:

          It’s not actually to overturn an election. It’s to see whether there were mistakes, omissions, discrepancies in the election. And while it may confirm that in fact Biden was the proper winner, election officials in Arizona should not simply dismiss this audit, not take any steps.

          So here’s what I see - I see Newsmax wanting to lie about the election outcome and HVS being a bit unscrupulous about finding a platform to make his election integrity pitch, and they both are using the other to boost their own message. Because there certainly are possible avenues for error in the system, and it seems that this guy’s official role at Heritage is thinking about how to maintain election integrity. Hopefully he has noticed some of the other actors causing even larger problems for our voting system lately, but I don’t see him here endorsing the fraud stuff. Should HVS have known better than to allow himself to be used as an intellectual veneer over the stop the steal nonsense? Yes, and it certainly lowers my opinion of *him* for doing this TV hit. But he’s not Heritage as a whole, and to suggest otherwise is dishonest.

          1. You say you don't see it, but then you tell us you see it when you say,

            "I see Newsmax wanting to lie about the election outcome and HVS being a bit unscrupulous.."

            Using selective language to minimize what Heritage is doing via their mouth piece.

            And in general, especially right now, when you already concede that Newsmax is trying to lie about the election, it follows that no honest person should be on that network engaging in activity that furthers that message; which you concede this broadcast sought to do.

            You even tell us, "HVS have known better than to allow himself to be used as an intellectual veneer over the stop the steal nonsense?"

            How is it that you then say you don;t see it. This is sheer doublespeak. 'Come on, man! Give me a break.'

          2. Heritage is under no obligation to continue to have him as a part of the team. If he is using the Heritage name then they are endorsing his opinions.

            Similarly, you can't simultaneously say that John Eastman is terrible but the Federalist Society is good, if the Federalist Society doesn't disown John Eastman when he tries to do a coup.

            Organizations have responsibilities - if their members do things that are against their missions they should get rid of those people. Keeping them on without even so much as a peep of disapproval is de facto approval.

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