While she didn’t do the actual reporting of the ABC News story on Beef Products Inc.’s Lean Finely Textured Beef, Diane Sawyer had to review the “pink slime” script before airing, calling the report factual.
Sawyer’s video deposition was played Tuesday as testimony continued in the South Dakota-based BPI’s $1.9 billion defamation lawsuit against ABC and correspondent Jim Avila.
According to the Sioux City Journal, Sawyer said in the deposition: “I read the script and it seemed to be factual and fair and seemed to be credible reporting.”
Sawyer also said that the use of the term “pink slime” was accurate in the report, saying: “I’m told it was a correct descriptive term.”
The seventh day in the trial, the court also heard from Janet Riley, the senior vice president of public affairs for the North American Meat Institute, on her conversations with ABC News before and during the broadcast.
Riley said she had provided ABC with a video and statement about LFTB before the March 7 report, but none of the information was included in the actual news story and was only posted on the network’s “World News Tonight” website.
Riley said she was “distressed by the outcome” of the report because they did not include the statements she made on product safety and that ammonia gas, not ammonia, was used in making LFTB.
If BPI wins, the $1.9 billion claim could be tripled to $5.7 billion under provisions of South Dakota’s Agricultural Food Product Disparagement Act. The trial is expected to last until July.
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