ABC just got slimed. But unlike anyone who wandered too close to a Nickelodeon show back in the day, the slime wasn't green - it was pink.
And that pink slime is going to cost ABC some green.
The network, Diane Sawyer and other correspondents have been sued by Beef Products Inc., a South Dakota-based boneless-lean-beef company, as apparently ABC's news reports have caused the company some serious financial harm.
The company produced ground beef that was found in many supermarkets, restaurants and school lunches that was known as "pink slime." However, in March, regulations changed and pink slime was out of the picture.
This pink slime contained a lot of fillers and trimmings, as well as ammonia to conquer bacteria. ABC ran some reports on it and consumers reacted, with their checkbooks.
BPI says ABC News published a lot of "false and misleading and defamatory" statements about the product. These reports, the lawsuit says, caused people to believe that it was unhealthy and unsafe.
Apparently the report caused 650 people to be laid off and three plants to close.
Also named in the lawsuit is Gerald Zirnstein, the USDA microbiologist who came up with the term "pink slime."
"The lawsuit is without merit," ABC News senior vice president Jeffrey Schneider. "We will contest it vigorously."
I don't really understand the lawsuit. Did ABC lie at all? If not, what's the issue?