The Hill’s Joe Concha has a hot scoop: Breitbart News gave him an “exclusive statement” saying it is “preparing a lawsuit against a ‘major media company’ over claims that it is a white nationalist website.”
The problem with this story is not which media company Breitbart claims it is preparing to sue: A quick search shows Salon, Media Matters, and Raw Story have all recently described Breitbart as such. None of those seem like major media companies (sorry), so I searched the news database Nexis for big companies that have used the phrase “white nationalist website” when describing Breitbart. No luck so far.
Anyway, if Breitbart wants to get in an argument in front of a judge about whether it’s a white nationalist website or simply a publication that many white nationalists seem to enjoy, that’s its business. Enjoy the discovery process, fellas. The bigger problem here is that there is no lawsuit yet.
To illustrate the issue, I am right now mulling a lawsuit against my boss for making me rewrite a perfectly good introduction to a cover package we’re running next month. It was great! How dare he! Okay, lawsuit mulled, maybe even planned. You’d be insane to run a headline saying I’m planning to sue Washingtonian until I actually did it. Maybe a lawyer tells me it’s a stupid idea. Maybe I bail when I find out how much it costs. Point is, no lawsuit.
If you’re looking for a recent example of why reporting the threat of a lawsuit is generally a bad idea, look to Breitbart News’s object of affection Donald Trump, whose team was supposedly drafting a lawsuit against the New York Times after its October story about two women who said he groped them.
A lawsuit is being drafted now by Trump against the NYT. Very possible it could be announced tonight, though discussions ongoing.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) October 13, 2016
Said “lawsuit” has not yet materialized, New York Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy tells Washingtonian.