NBC gets sued for libel, slander; no, you can’t call rifle target companies ‘bomb makers’

NBC News and a Kentucky affiliate are being sued, accused of libel and slander after reporting a hunting company’s targets are actually “bombs.”

The video and article titled “Bombs for sale: Targets containing dangerous explosive being sold legally,” about the binary reactive target industry and the No. 1 company in that industry, Tannerite Sports, was done by NBC reporter Jeff Rossen and ran on the “Today Show” and today.com, according to a report by bearingarms.com.

The video shows multiple fiery explosions of the Tannerite targets, but the substance is not flammable or explosive, meaning an accelerant must have been used, though neither the company nor its attorneys have accused NBC of doing so, bearingarms.com reported.

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NBC’s local affiliate WLEX also ran the story with the false claim that it is illegal to mix the two component parts that make Tannerite.

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Tannerite Sports is being represented by the firm Mendelsohn, Drucker, & Dunleavy, P.C. which, according to a complaint filed in the Southern District Court of NY, alleged NBC made the following claims.

  • On March 23, 2015, Defendant NBCU released a defamatory “report” that falsely claimed that Plaintiff’s rifle targets are “bombs for sale.”
  • In a related video, Defendant NBCU’s investigative reporter falsely asserted that “I am basically holding a bomb in my hand.”
  • NBCU’s report contains one or more written false statements that were intended to impugn Plaintiff’s rifle targets and Plaintiff’s reputation in the hunting industry.
  • Plaintiff’s rifle targets are not bombs and are not well-suited for use as weapons.
  • A bomb is a weapon that is illegal to make. In the United States, manufacturing a bomb requires numerous federal licenses.
  • Federal guidelines allow consumers to mix and shoot Tannerite®-brand rifle targets for personal, non-commercial use as targets.

Interestingly, Rossen may have a ready-made excuse for any problems in the report.

The evening prior to the report airing Rossen tweeted “INTENSE AGONY: My back is out. Meds lined up. Plowing through pain for tmrw’s #RossenReports investigation. It’s that important. @TODAYshow”

The following morning he sent another tweet that said “NATIONAL SECURITY ALERT: Why are “bombs for sale” at your local sporting goods store. Dramatic video: http://www.today.com/news/bombs-sale-targets-containing-dangerous-explosive-being-sold-legally-2D80562532 … #RossenReports

But even intense pain and medications affecting one person involved wouldn’t account for the research that had to go into that report.

Compare the video below from Tannerite Sports with the video from the Today Show above.


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