AHA Libels APN in Email to City Council
(APN) ATLANTA — Atlanta Housing Authority’s external affairs officer, Barney Simms, made libelous statements regarding Atlanta Progressive News in an email sent to all City Council Members, the Mayor, and others on October 01, 2007.
Simms falsely claims that Atlanta Progressive News’s article, “AHA Evicting Single Mothers Late on Rent, despite Hardships,” published September 30, 2007, and others, are based on “the editor’s opinions and innuendo, which are seldom based on facts.”
Atlanta Progressive News stands by the content of this and all its articles.
Simms neglected to mention in his email to Council a single example of untrue information in the article or in the 25 other articles APN has written on AHA’s efforts to destroy public housing since the spring of 2007.
While AHA has verbally attacked APN before, Atlanta Progressive News has never received a single correction request from AHA. Like many newspapers and wire services, APN always publishes corrections when factual errors are discovered.
Simms’s email was replying to all parties on a copy of APN’s September 30, 2007, article, which had been originally forwarded on by City Councilwoman Felicia Moore’s office.
“Councilwoman Moore: Thanks for sharing the latest copy of Atlanta Progressive News! As you will discern from reading this and other articles in the APN, the views given and information cited are the editor’s opinion and innuendo, which are seldom based on facts. I keep hoping and looking forward to reading at least one article in the APN that has journalistic integrity with objective (both sides of an issue) coverage of what the editor calls news,” Simms writes.
While Simms laments APN’s lack of presentation of AHA’s “side” of the demolition issue, he fails to mention that AHA’s spokesperson, Rick White, has failed to reply to press requests from APN on several occasions.
In fact, AHA responded for the first time to a press request from APN only recently, and even then it took 28 days for him to respond, with reminders.
Because some of the answers received from AHA were vague or unresponsive to the question asked, APN sent follow-up questions on September 14, 2007, to White, and has not received answers as of yet.
If Simms does not retract his defamatory statement to City Council that APN’s article was based on opinion and innuendo–when it was all based on facts which can be proven with documents and audiorecordings–APN will strongly consider pursuing a libel case against AHA.
Simms was hired in 2002 as Special Assistant for External and Community Affairs, according to AHA’s website.
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Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for The Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at email@example.com
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