The New York Times could be in legal trouble if they don't retract and issue an apology to Fox News' Sean Hannity within "24 hours" of "transmission" of a letter demanding they do sent from Hannity's attorneys.
Attorney Charles Harder of the Los Angeles, California based law firm Harder LLP sent a 12-page letter to the New York Times on Monday demanding an apology and retraction of an implication from an April 18th article that "falsely state and falsely imply a connection between Mr. Hannity’s on-air comments and Mr. [Joe] Joyce’s decision to take a cruise."
The New York Times claimed that while Joyce, who has since tragically died from COVID-19, and his family were debating on whether or not to go on a cruise on March 1st.
"We write concerning the New York Times’ blatant and outrageous disregard for the truth in mischaracterizing Mr. Hannity’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and blaming him for the tragic death of Joe Joyce," the letter read.
Here's part of the letter from Harder to the New York Times:
In the story you published on or about April 18, 2020, entitled “A Beloved Bar Owner Was Skeptical About the Virus. Then He Took A Cruise,” available at https://www.nytimes.com/ 2020/04/18/nyregion/coronavirus-jjbubbles-joe-joyce.html (the “April 18, 2020 Story”), you falsely state and falsely imply a connection between Mr. Hannity’s on-air comments and Mr. Joyce’s decision to take a cruise. But what you fail to mention is that Mr. Hannity’s comments could not possibly have influenced Mr. Joyce’s decision because he embarked on his cruise on March 1 (according to your report), while Mr. Hannity made comments on March 9, which you claim influenced his decision. Moreover, you were fully aware that this was the actual timeline, and in order to mislead your readers and support your false narrative, you withheld the date of Mr. Hannity’s comments from your story.
Toward the end of the letter, Harder issued a warning to the New York Times.
"Please confirm in writing within twenty-four (24) hours of transmission of this letter that you will retract, correct and apologize for each of the foregoing statements," the letter stated. "Failure to do so will leave Mr. Hannity with no alternative but to consider instituting immediate legal proceedings against you."
In response to the letter, Deputy General Counsel for the New York Times David McCraw released a letter of his own with a very clear answer, "no."
"The columns are accurate, do not reasonably imply what you and Mr. Hannity allege they do, and constitute protected opinion," McCraw said in the letter. "In response to your request for an apology and retraction, our answer is "no.""
Here's the letter, according to the Washington Post's Erik Wemple:
Time will tell if the response from the New York Times will force Hannity's hand in pursuing legal action. But if video from last night's "Hannity" broadcast is any indication, it seems more than likely.
Take a look: