CNN anchor Anderson Cooper is being hit with a defamation lawsuit after a Florida judge refused to have it thrown out of court, according to a new report from The Daily Mail.
The plaintiff, Dr. Michael Black, is a heart surgeon who operates out of St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Black claims that Cooper’s show, Anderson Cooper 360, knowingly sensationalized a story to grab ratings, even though the evidence presented was false.
Cooper’s report said the rate of infants who died after heart surgery at Black’s hospital was 12.5 percent — three times the national average.
The network ran sensationalized headlines accusing Black of using “babies as sacrificial lambs” and being a “total mess with newborn babies.”
However, Black said CNN’s mortality calculations were “fundamentally flawed pseudo-statistical analysis.”
Black believes CNN’s aim was “to manufacture an outrageous, headline-grabbing story about an incompetent, dishonest and inexperienced doctor leading a surgical program in crisis and recklessly operating on young children to profit at the expense of those children’s lives.”
The CEO of St. Mary’s came to Black’s defense, arguing that CNN only accounted for a portion of the heart surgeries, thereby not giving an accurate statistical representation.
Black himself said he told the network’s producers that his hospital’s mortality rate was around the national average; which is 3.5 percent, according to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
“CNN recklessly — and repeatedly — ignored information demonstrating the absolute falsity of their claims about Dr. Black and the surgical program he led, and deliberately manipulated statistics to fit their predetermined conclusion about the quality of care provided by Dr. Black and St. Mary’s,” said Libby Locke, one of Black’s attorneys.
Black claims CNN’s story caused him “reputational and economic harm.”
He also alleges that he received death threats; one caller even telling him he would be “butchered just like (his) patients.”
Cooper and his colleagues wanted the lawsuit thrown out, but a Florida judge said that Black had enough evidence in his 208-page defamation lawsuit to make a plausible case that CNN had purposely misled its audience for a ratings grab.
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