You are asking about libel here because it was published words that stated what you say is false.
Defamatory statements are those that are communicated as a fact by someone to one or more other people that causes damage and harms the reputation and/or standing in the community of the plaintiff.
Defenses to such charges include:
- fair comment: opinion based on accurate facts that do not allege dishonorable motives about the plaintiff
- things said about politicians, actors, anyone who is “public” enough of a person
- minor mistakes in reporting
- public records cannot be found to be libel
- the truth - if it was true, can’t sue.
The basics of the determination of whether something is defamatory is that the statement must be false and must concern a verifiable fact. Some state laws provide extra protection for newspapers above and beyond what an individual would receive publishing or stating the same falsity. Also, it does not have to be 100% true. As long as it is substantially true, as long as the media that published the statement can justify the “gist” of what they said about someone, they will be fine.
The reason printing whatever was printed about the guy from Google won’t make a newspaper liable for defamation is because there really is not a verifiable fact at issue. You can say you saw the text and it certainly was not the case that the guy was saying women shouldn’t work there. However, apparently a lot of people read the same thing and thought the opposite for you. It is subjective and, thus, unverifiable.
Can the media do whatever it wants?
No, that's not the case. The word "alleged" protects a statement if you can attribute the statement to an official source you're reporting from. For example, using alleged, you would be using the cops or a lawsuit or indictment as the source of whatever the subsequent sentence would be.
Journalists are generally immune from libel liability when they fairly and accurately report incorrect info that comes from an official source. Further, the case New York Times Co. v. Sullivan from 1964 established that, to hold a journalist liable for libel, one must show "actual malice" on the journalist's behalf. Again, the report must simply convey an accurate "gist" of the story "regardless of whether 'trained lawyers or judges might with the luxury of time have chosen more precise words.'"
Second Edit to Respond to Questions
Responding to the comment below:
The actual malice standard is not always applicable to everyone. It is a requirement for a public figure to show that a publisher or broadcaster acted with actual malice, and thus should be held liable for defamation. Only in the instance that a private individual is attempting to recover punitive damages against the defendant would the actual malice standard come into play. I should have, but did not, include that information originally.
Certainly this could apply to anyone with a medium which today is broader than the time when the principle came about, but is still largely made up on media professionals. Nonetheless, the standard is, as stated, that “[A] defendant is not required in an action of libel to justify every word of the alleged defamatory matter; it is sufficient if the substance, the gist, the sting of the libelous charge be justified…” See Kurata v. Los Angeles News Publishing Co., 4 Cal. App. 2d 224, 40 P2d 520, 522 (1935)). This standard has been adopted by many, although not all, jurisdictions.
Also, as referenced above, a journalist is indeed generally held immune from liability for the publication of defamatory statements so long as the journalist “fairly and accurately report[ed]” the information from an official source. “The publication of defamatory matter is privileged if it appears in a report of an official action or proceeding, or a public m meeting that deals with a matter of public concern, and the report is accurate and complete.” See Meddico v. Time, Inc., 643 F.2d 134 (3d Cir. 1981).