Ag please man, the NYT has garnered quite the reputation for slandering people baselessly over the last few years. The only difference is that Project Veritas is actually willing to take them to court unlike most people.You're missing the point, NYT failed that argument for that specific piece, and it was one of many, they used it because Fox got away with it.
The biggest issue is this bit:
So the issue is that they labeled it as news instead of opinion for some of the claims.
Fox news => Tucker Carlson does not state opinion anywhere, based on the reputation it is to be inferred based by the judge's argument.
So basically the argument is that NYT is trustworthy as news, therefore them doing something like that is called out/valid for a defamation case and means that any news stories similar to it will also be called out and will mean that everything besides those can be considered factual.
It also completely misses the point of that the argument was that Fox news is factual, your red herring doesn't matter, fox news is not a valid source on anything.
If the NYT made an honest mistake, it would have acknowledged it and retracted the claim, instead they went to court to argue that their "news" shouldn't be taken as such.
But by all means, continue with the mental gymnastics. It's quite entertaining.