Libel Lawsuit against Knoxville blogger dismissed - iMediaEthics

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A libel lawsuit by a Knoxville, Tennessee politician against a local political blogger, Brian Hornback, was dismissed.

Ruthie Kuhlman was the GOP Chair for Knox County in 2013 when she sued Hornback for $100,000 over claims in two of his posts on his site Shock and Awe, WBIR reported.

Kuhlman “said that Hornback, on his blog, suggested that Kuhlman – whom he never actually named – verbally attacked a Young Republican Club leader; said that he resigned from the club; and said he was blackballed “by the money in the party,” according to WBIR.

Kuhlman also disputed a quote she said referred to her saying, “If we are to ever achieve elected superintendent status that we have to vote out Rep. Harry Brooks and Sen. Becky Duncan Massey.”

The judge in the case, Jon Kerry Blackwood, decided that Kuhlman didn’t prove malice and that “much of [Kuhlman’s] evidence is inadmissible,” WBIR reported.

In Oct. 2013, Hornback blogged about the legal threats from Kuhlman and the call for “a correction, retraction and apology.”

“I examined the two posts in question, talked with my sources and have determined that I can not issue a correction, retraction and apology,” Hornback wrote. Hornback included the Oct. 4, 2013 letter he sent in response, saying his anonymous sources “stand behind their version of what they heard Mrs. Kuhlman say.”

“As a website (blog) that adheres to similar standards as the Knoxville News Sentinel, Shopper News Now and Knoxville Focus, I will not reveal my sources at their request,” he added.

Hornback went on: “While being a public official and having what you say examined is difficult at times (I have been in the same post as Mrs. Kuhlman), it is the nature of the position. Certainly, nothing published about Mrs. Kuhlman or any other person has or ever will be done in a malicious manner on or by my website.”


Hornback tweeted about the news.

iMediaEthics has written to Hornback and Kuhlman’s lawyer for comment.

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Libel Lawsuit against Knoxville blogger dismissed

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