Dylan Byers of Puck interviewed Axel Springer’s head of communications, Adib Sisani, about the complaints billionaire Bill Ackman has made over Business Insider’s coverage of his wife and problems with her dissertation.
Byers writes, “In a phone call this week, Sisani told me that the company launched the review because Axel took Ackman’s accusations so seriously—chiefly, the insinuation that targeting Oxman, who was born in Israel, was antisemitic or anti-Zionist. ‘That’s a very hard red line,’ Sisani said of Ackman’s assertions. ‘Those are accusations that we’re going to make triple-sure are outrageous and not based in reality.’ Still, Sisani conceded, ‘most people underestimated the way that Bill Ackman is completely losing it.’
“Ackman embraces his crusader reputation; he has reposted memes on social media depicting himself as both a Roman emperor and Mel Gibson in Braveheart. And yet, according to Sisani, it appears he’s unlikely to force B.I. to concede defeat. Axel and Business Insider will conclude their review in a matter of days, Sisani said, but, he added, ‘the outcome of the review is pretty clear.’ Sisani continued: ‘We believe in our own editorial standards. Of course there’s not a bias in the sense that his wife is Jewish—that’s so far out there. What remains is: Did we give him and his wife enough time to comment? I’m sure there’s an email trail that’s easily reviewed. Could there be an outcome where maybe we give them an hour extra?’ Sisani also acknowledged that some of B.I.’s reporters ‘could be seen as spiking the football’ with their own seemingly impartial posts on social media, rather than ‘letting the story speak for itself.’ Nevertheless, he said, ‘the facts of the story stand. I’m certain the sourcing and technical journalistic work done was spotless.'”
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