How do you get a false news story taken down off a website? How do you take legal action against a news organization?
A blatantly false story was written about me by a major news organization and put up online. When it came out, I was surprised by the journalist’s lack of professionalism (making things up even though he had the whole interview on tape), and essentially creating a story around me with a political objective. But it was an exceptionally busy time for me, and I didn’t do anything about it and I suppose eventually I figured it would go offline shortly. But months later it didn’t and in fact it slowly crept to the top of the Google search using my name. There are limited things online about me, but I’m in a line of work where people search for me online fairly often, and this could easily impact my professional life (or for all I know already has). Since it looks like a legitimate article, I wouldn’t just assume people will discard it.
So about a year after publishing, I wrote the news organization – the main contact address, the specific author, and the author’s boss – describing the false claims in detail and asking the article be removed from the website (or corrected, etc). I received no reply and nothing happened. I wrote again, saying that if it were not removed I would pursue legal action. Still nothing.
What can / should I do? This has become very important to me as I see the possible consequences, and have gotten hints that there may have been some already. I can prove the false claims – I can’t prove the damage, but I can certain describe the likely potential for damage. Just to clarify that I have absolutely no interest in legal action, or any of the hassles associated with it. In my ideal world the webpage would disappear and that would be the end of it.
Thanks for any ideas or resources.
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