by Sharon Rondeau
(Apr. 14, 2022) — On Thursday Dr. Robert W. Malone, MD, published a two-part article on his Substack revealing an extensive email chain with a now-former New York Times reporter who Malone recently accused of defamation.
The reporter, Davey Alba, states on her website she writes for Bloomberg News in the field of technology; her Times article on Malone, titled, “The Latest Covid Misinformation Star Says He Invented the Vaccines,” was published April 3.
Alba’s Twitter profile states she will “soon” write about technology, and her account is “protected” from would-be followers she has not personally approved. The Times describes Alba’s work as focused on “technology” and “disinformation.”
Malone pioneered the mRNA technology which serves as the platform for two of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in the U.S. Over the last year Malone has expressed concern at the mandates which emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s declaration that all schoolchildren would be required to take the injections once the FDA issued “full approval” for the products for applicable age groups.
Heavily censored by social media platforms for expressing views contrary to the government’s COVID narrative, Malone maintains that serious vaccine side effects and permanent injury could ensue in children, who he claims are generally at very low risk of experiencing serious illness if infected with the virus itself.
Alba’s emails, exchanged with Malone in late January and early February, illustrate her unmistakable eagerness to interview him in the midst of his heavy travel schedule and skepticism that a mainstream reporter would produce a “fair” article.
On January 26, Alba introduced herself to Malone with:
…My beat is traditionally misinformation, but I wanted to understand and potentially correct the record on some other mainstream publications’ quick write-ups of what your views about Covid-19 have been in the past year. I’ve listened to your podcast with Joe Rogan, the five video interviews with The Epoch Times, and your podcast with Bret Weinstein. I’ve heard you say you aren’t anti-vaxx — you have some concerns about how quickly the treatment has been developed and pushed out to millions of people around the world, but that it has helped, especially in the case of older adults. And it seems like as a pioneer of mRNA, you had some concerns about the stability of the technology and had pushed for other treatments like pills and drugs, before going the route of a vaccine. I also understand that it’s not like you haven’t lived through this before, since you were involved in a company trying to develop drug treatments during the Zika virus epidemic of 2015-2016.
I wanted to make sure that this understanding of your views is correct, and to give you a chance to respond to your detractors…
He hesitated to grant the interview, Malone told Davey, to “legacy media” because “I keep having a situation where reporters act all nicey-nicey and then do hit pieces on me.” “I am getting a bit tired of this subterfuge, and quite wary of reporters that I cannot trust to- at a minimum- attempt to be objective,” he wrote to Alba on January 28.
With that wariness, Malone asked Alba to contact Sheryl Gaye Stolberg, a New York Times journalist with whom Malone had dealt in years past and found to be trustworthy.
In his January 28 email, he told Davey:
…I have very little faith in the NY Times running an objective “fair and balanced” piece on me at this point. Please forgive me for that.
Each time, I have to waste time on addressing the criticisms of “journalists” who (typically) create a strawman argument by taking some fragment of a comment and then misconstruing it and then refuting something that I did not say.
And now the the WaPo has gone over the top, lawyers are having to get involved (yet again) and write cease and decist letters, threaten lawsuits, etc.
Malone included links to the articles he referenced as “over the top.”
“So, can you understand why I am a bit wary of your inquiry, and why I have asked that Sheryl get involved?” he continued. Speaking of Stolberg, he wrote, “At least I have some confidence that she would not put out something that was so transparently slanted to just punch me in the gut. Because she would then have that on her resume. And she has a solid body of work to date.”
Continuing, he told Alba, “Not accusing you, just that I have had too much water under the bridge with journalists that act all nicey-nicey and then do not put out objective investigative work. And I do not know you personally.”
On January 31, Stolberg responded to Malone’s emails with:
…I’m writing to encourage you to do an interview with Davey, who is cc’d here. (By the way, despite the male-sounding name, Davey is a woman.) The NYT is going to write a piece one way or the other, so you might as well have your views heard and have some input. I am not the person to write the piece for several reasons:
1. It’s not really on my turf. My stories always have some kind of Washington/ Congressional/ White House angle. Davey reports to an entirely different set of editors, who have assigned her this piece.
2. I am plowed under with my own work.
3. Your request for me to partner with her is going to generate an absolutely not from Times editors, because one thing we NEVER EVER do is let a source pick the reporter. (In journo land, we call this “reporter shopping”). If you want to decline an interview with her, fine, but you can’t set a condition that another reporter participate.
I would also direct you to Davey’s initial email, in which she says she would like to understand and potentially correct the record on what other publications have written. I’ve worked for The Times for 25 years and I know that we demand accuracy and fairness. I understand why you are media-shy. But I would argue that if you are going to pick one and only one outlet to work with, it should be The Times.
So, that is my two cents! I will let you two take it from here.
Further emails in Malone’s Part 2 published Thursday show that after Alba accepted Malone’s invitation to interview him at his Virginia farm following his return from Hawaii, Alba asked about nearby hotels and Malone extended an offer for her to stay in the guest house on his property.
Malone spent decades working in academic centers and with startups seeking to bring new medical treatments to market and to combat the Zika and Ebola outbreaks. But in recent months, as the coronavirus pandemic has persisted, he has taken up an entirely different role: spreading misinformation about the virus and vaccines on conservative programs.
In many of his appearances, Malone questions the severity of the coronavirus, which has now killed nearly 1 million people in the United States, and the safety of the coronavirus vaccines, which have been widely found to be safe and effective at preventing serious illness and death. His statements in late December on “The Joe Rogan Experience,” one of the most popular podcasts in the country, with 11 million listeners per episode on average, were at the center of the uproar over Rogan’s role in spreading bad information about the virus.
Malone also routinely sells himself on the shows as the inventor of mRNA vaccines, the technology used by Pfizer and Moderna for their COVID-19 shots, and says he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for their development. While he was involved in some early research into the technology, his role in its creation was minimal at best, say half a dozen COVID experts and researchers, including three who worked closely with Malone…
On April 7, Malone responded to Alba’s allegations in the first of two posts, writing, in part:
For the record, sticking to the facts, as most of you know I have never claimed to have invented the SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines. In fact, I have very actively distanced myself from them. I have claimed to have invented the core technology platform. That claim is supported by patent disclosures from the late 1980s, nine issued US patents in which I am a named inventor, and highly cited peer-reviewed publications.
Malone’s second post that day is titled, “RE: Malone v. The New York Times Company et al,” and solely contains a letter written by Atty. Steven S. Biss to David E. McCraw, Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel at The New York Times Company, and Alba. The letter begins:
I represent Dr. Robert W. Malone in connection with his claims against The New York Times Company (“NYT”), Davey Alba (“Alba”) and unknown editors and publishers for defamation, defamation by implication and insulting words.
On April 3, 2022, NYT published an article on its website written by Alba, entitled “The Latest Covid Misinformation Star Says He Invented the Vaccines”.
In keeping with her private Twitter account, the tweets to which Biss linked are invisible to non-subscribers.
Biss identified eight claims in Alba’s article as defamatory and provided examples of readers affirming her claims, stating Malone is exaggerating his credentials, “spreading unfounded claims about the vaccines and the virus” and “is a liar and a fraud.”
As a proposed remedy, Biss requested that “an immediate public retraction” of the statements in the article be made along with “a written apology, and compensation for the presumed and actual damages suffered by Dr. Malone, including the insult, pain, humiliation, embarrassment, mental suffering and injury to his reputation.”
“My client wishes to resolve this matter amicably and without litigation,” Biss wrote toward the end of the letter. “If you refuse to take the above action within 30 days of the date of this letter, or if the retractions are insufficient, he intends to take appropriate legal action to protect his rights and interests.”