CNN and CBS Both Off the Hook in Defamation Lawsuit Over That Nonexistent Mass Grave
A couple weeks back, we gave you an update on the unlucky Liberty County couple still trying to sue the self-proclaimed psychic who wrongly told police they had a huge mass grave filled with tiny dead children on their property. Presley "Rhonda" Gridley, who the couple alleges is the psychic in question, maintained in a letter to the court that she has no idea why she's being sued. She is, it's becoming clear, just not much of a psychic.
Other than Gridley, though, the number of people the couple are actively suing for defamation is quickly dwindling. As of last week, CNN's parent company, Cable News Network Inc., and KHOU-TV, an affiliate of CBS, are both off the hook. The dismissal was first reported by Courthouse News.
For those of you keeping score, that means The New York Times, Belo, Reuters America, ABC and even Liberty County are all hook-free here. We don't know why, exactly, only that the couple, Joe Bankson and Gena Charlton, were the ones who requested the dismissal. They did so with the stipulation that they'll be allowed to refile the suit at a later date, if they choose.
Even though the media outlets in this case are all getting out of the legal hot-seat, this was still a pretty embarrassing moment for them. Just after the massive dead person false alarm first happened, the Guardian took them to task, calling the whole thing a "fiasco" and a "journalistic corpse-a-palooza." NPR, less colorfully and more NPR-ishly, called it a reminder "to slow down and let the facts become more clear before we rush to report."
We can probably all agree on that. We have to, really, to avoid being extensively sued. So let's get back to cracking cheap jokes about psychics instead: What do you call a short psychic who escaped from prison? A small medium at large.
I know. I'm sorry. We'll have more on this very important lawsuit as it further develops. Or devolves. Whichever.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.
- Live From London: Your Holiday Weekend Weather Apocaforecast
- Oak Lawn Protesters Pick Fight With Philip Kingston
- Just in Time for Thanksgiving Travel, Love Field Breaks Out New Parking System