A sporting goods company claims NBC News and Kentucky NBC-affiliate WLEX-TV defamed it by saying its shooting targets are dangerous “bombs for sale.”
The company, Tannerite Sports, LLC, has filed a libel lawsuit against the network and affiliate.
Tannerite Sports LLC CEO Dan J. Tanner said in a statement sent to iMediaEthics by e-mail: “NBC has caused extensive damage from their lies about our company and we are taking them to the mat over it. We’re sending a message that anyone attempts a similar stunt will be slapped with a lawsuit and brought forth into a court of law to try and explain their lies to a judge.”
NBC News’ Today aired a March 23, 2015 story “Bombs for Sale? Popular Stores Sell ‘Dangerous Explosives.'” WLEX also aired a report, according to the website Bearing Arms, but it has apparently been unpublished because iMediaEthics could not view any report on its website. A Google search produced a story “Personal Explosives Regulation…” but the story appears to have been unpublished as the link goes to an error page.
However, the Today news segment is still online. “Right now I am basically holding a bomb in my hand,” NBC News’ Jeff Rossen claimed while holding the company’s products.
“The key ingredient here … has been used by terrorists to kill Americans. So why are you allowed to buy it by the truckload?” he asked.
The report said in addition to the 40 pounds of the product that reporter Rossen bought at a store “with no questions asked,” his producer was able to buy 40 pounds online. Rossen said NBC News was “handing over” the 80 pounds it bought to “experts.”
NBC News contacted Tannerite Sports LLC for comment before its report. Tannerite issued a statement: “No additional regulations are needed beyond current laws because the product is safe when used correctly,” “the only injuries that have ever happened were results from the shooter misusing the product,” and “Only girly-men want to regulate Tannerite Rifle Targets.”
In their response to the report, Tannerite maintained that their product isn’t a bomb, a weapon nor against the law, Bearing Arms reported.
“Tannerite® Brand Binary Exploding Targets are a binary explosive used primarily as a shot indicator for firearms practice,” Tannerite’s website states.
In a statement to the Washington Examiner, Tannerite Sports’ lawyers claimed the reports “publicly defamed” the company.
“Our client, Tannerite Sports, LLC, has been publicly defamed by the false and misleading statements in the NBC news piece and the follow-up story by WLEX Communications, LLC,” the firm is quoted as saying. “The news piece asserts that Tannerite-brand targets are too dangerous to sell to ordinary consumers. To the contrary, Tannerite-brand targets have been safely used for years.”
“Unfortunately, there are many in the media today who are driven by an agenda, and rather than simply tell the facts, they twist the truth. But in this situation, a line has been crossed,” the firm added. “This is not a case of simply twisting the truth, this news piece included lies and misleading statements to make their point. We are confident of the merits of this case, and that our client will be victorious.”
Bearing Arms published a copy of the legal complaint against NBC News and WLEX.
iMediaEthics has written to NBC News and WLEX.
Hat Tip: Bearing Arms