Freelance writer Ruth Shalit Barrett sues The Atlantic for $1 million

Amid an argument that gripped D.C. media circles, resulting in additional fact-checking of the article including by Erik Wemple of the Washington Publish, The Atlantic formally retracted the article.

Barrett, in her grievance, maintains she was “unlawfully smeared” for “appearing in accordance with the regulation and moral precepts of the career of journalism,” and is in search of $1 million in damages for defamation and associated complaints.

The longform article, titled “The Mad, Mad World of Area of interest Sports activities Amongst Ivy League-Obsessed Dad and mom” got here beneath criticism for the invention of a kid who didn’t exist. Barrett, in her swimsuit, says the inclusion was essential to masks the id of minors and a mother or father cited within the article.


The editor’s be aware appended to the article additionally famous that Barrett had left a place with The New Republic in 1999 beneath allegations of plagiarism. The journal additional mentioned it “can’t attest to the trustworthiness and credibility of the creator, and subsequently we can’t attest to the veracity of the article.”

After retracting the article upon its discovering that Barrett was “complicit” within the choice to incorporate the fictional youngster, and following a four-week inside investigation, the journal said that “the gravest errors occurred within the author-selection and vetting course of” and that it was “implementing reforms to deal with flaws in our techniques.”

“It was a severe error and misjudgment on my half to permit Sloane to assert this son, however my intentions have been honorable,” Barrett told the New York Times following the controversy.

In her swimsuit, Barrett disputes the journal’s characterization of the circumstances that led to her departure from The New Republic. Within the swimsuit, she additional states that Wemple “focused” her with a “sustained marketing campaign of mudslinging and vilification.” Wemple will not be named as a defendant within the swimsuit.


Since leaving the New Republic, Barrett labored in promoting and wrote options for Elle and New York Journal in 2015 and 2018 respectively.

Former Atlantic editor Donald Peck can be named as a defendant within the swimsuit. In a press release, The Atlantic spokesperson Anna Bross mentioned: “We stand by our full retraction and editor’s be aware from November 2020. We fully reject the allegations and imagine the swimsuit is meritless, shall be submitting a movement to dismiss, and are assured we are going to in the end prevail.”

“I’m not in command at this level of each allegation towards me, however I do stand very firmly behind the work that we did on this. Clearly, she has a beef with The Atlantic and I’ve not but reached a conclusion on that exact matter,” Wemple instructed POLITICO in a short phone interview on Saturday afternoon.

“I did do a whole lot of very deep reporting about that story and I did press The Atlantic for explanations as to why sure issues appeared a little bit little bit of concerning the story and that’s very a lot what I do as a media critic,” Wemple added.


He careworn he was nonetheless within the means of assessing the main points of the grievance, which runs to 106 pages.

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