• Ron Avery of Texas files $10 million suit against Houston Chronicle for smears.
By Mark Anderson —
Arguing that mainstream news is being “weaponized” against the citizenry, an AMERICAN FREE PRESS subscriber from Texas has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the Houston Chronicle over its smear job of an event held at his Silver Eagle Taphouse near Seguin, just northeast of San Antonio.
That plaintiff is Ron Avery, a video journalist and licensed architect. The defendants are young Chronicle reporter Dylan Baddour and the paper’s owner, the Hearst Corporation of New York, whose colorful founder, William Randolph Hearst, often in pitched circulation battles with rival media mogul Joseph Pulitzer, became an emblematic figure in their era’s “yellow journalism” that sensationalized the news and fanned the flames of United States imperial wars, especially the 1898 Spanish-American War.
Avery, who gives public presentations on what he describes as the “dissolution of the United States of America,” spoke to the Republic of Texas group April 11 on that topic.
Baddour was there, but his report didn’t appear in the paper until five months later, on September 13. Evidently, it was timed and formulated to make Avery and the Republic look like would-be insurrectionists, according to Avery’s lawsuit,
Withholding the story until the 9-11 weekend struck Avery as odd. He feels the idea was to cast local patriots as a potential domestic threat to America, right when Americans were sensitive to such matters at the 14th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.
Avery told AFP: “All members of the Republic of Texas have asserted for many years that Texas was never made a legal state of the union and has remained a sovereign independent republic since its beginning in 1836.”
Yet Baddour insinuated that Avery, whose speech had nothing to do with secession, is a secessionist and claimed the same for the Republic’s members—even though it would be absurd, from the Republic’s perspective, for Texas to secede from a union it never actually joined.
Baddour missed that critical point, as this AFP writer can attest, having first spotted Baddour’s front-page article on a Houston airport newsstand September 13. This reporter then informed Avery by phone that the Chronicle had published a story concerning him.
In addition, a front-page photo showed a man misidentified as being Avery himself.
Baddour’s piece said that Russian leader Vladimir Putin reportedly has made remarks favoring Texas seceding. This echoed a similar report by the Washington journal Politico on June 22, which blared the headline: “Putin’s Plot to Get Texas to Secede.” That article noted Nathan Smith of the pro-secession Texas Nationalist Movement actually traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia to attend a “far-right” conference of “neo-nazis” and “fascists.”
Politico implied that any notions of Texas separatism or secession are in league with Putin’s nationalist leanings and therefore anti-American.
This media-generated imagery of Texans in alliance with an assumed U.S. “enemy” (Russia) was brought closer to home via the Chronicle and is another chief factor that motivated Avery to file suit.
Avery’s activism over the years challenging the government’s 9-11 narrative, among other touchy topics, has already earned him his share of enemies in the Seguin area. So the last thing he needed was for a paper close to him to malign him and his activities (and those of the Republic)—in a manner that could put him and the others in the government’s crosshairs and stir up local enmity.
Furthermore, Baddour also noted in his lengthy piece that past Republic meetings had been raided by armed state and federal agents, though no shots were fired, because the Republic, which sees itself as the legitimate Lone Star State governmental remnant, has called for legal action against corrupt Texas officials in its own Republic court system.
“I have actually spoken against secession for years because supporting it would be a legal admission that the federal union actually lawfully exists in total conformity to its Constitution,” Avery explained, concerning dissolution. “The union has altered at least 10 of its Constitutional provisions by law without the permission of the states and their people. The alteration of only one constitutional provision by law without the required amendment [process] dissolves the Constitution and the union it created and removes the delegated authority of the people from those in the federal government.”
The paper did make partial retractions, “but they did not make a sufficient or proper retraction required under the law,” added Avery, who said Baddour and the Chronicle kept considering Avery and the Republic as secessionists “in order to make their condemning link to Russia stick.”
Hearst countered in its legal answer to Avery that it has a First and Fourteenth Amendment right (under the U.S. Constitution, while also citing the Texas Constitution) to cover such matters as “reasonable and fair comment on matters of public concern published for general information.” The corporation’s legal answer added that the news it printed on this matter was “published with the good faith belief that the statements made therein were substantially true, published to inform the public on a legitimate topic of public concern.”
But Avery hopes the judge and jury “will see that the media has finally gone too far and does not have a license to misrepresent the news and create ‘enemies of the state’ that aren’t real.”
Mark Anderson covers the annual Bilderberg meetings and is chairman of AFP’s new America First Action Committee, designed to involve AFP readers in focusing intensely on Congress to enact key changes, including monetary reform and a pullback of the warfare state. He and his wife Angie often work together on news projects.
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