Palin sues the New York Times

  • 5 July 2017
  • NormanL
Palin sues the New York Times

Remember when the New York Times decided to print a long-debunked lie about Sarah Palin? The former GOP vice presidential nominee has decided to sue the paper for defamation:

In the lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court...Palin’s lawyers say the Times “violated the law and its own policies” when it accused her of inciting the 2011 attack that killed six people.

The lawsuit refers to a June editorial in the Times on the recent shooting of Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise. The editorial was later corrected.

Palin is seeking damages to be determined by a jury.

A spokeswoman for The New York Times, Danielle Rhoades Ha, says they haven’t seen the lawsuit but will defend against any claim vigorously.

We were curious to see how the Times covered the news in their own paper, and we found this, which offers a little more background:

The editorial was published online on June 14, the day a gunman opened fire at a baseball field where Republican lawmakers were practicing for an annual charity game. The editorial said there was a link between political incitement and the mass shooting in Arizona that severely wounded Representative Gabby Giffords and said that Ms. Palin’s “political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.”

The Times later issued a correction, saying that there was no established link between political statements and the shooting and that the map circulated by Ms. Palin’s PAC had depicted electoral districts, not individual Democratic lawmakers, beneath the stylized cross hairs. The NYT Opinion Twitter account also sent out the correction about the lack of a link, apologizing and saying that it appreciated that readers had pointed out the mistake.

Ms. Palin said in the lawsuit that The Times’s response “did not approach the degree of the retraction and apology necessary and warranted by The Times’s false assertion that Mrs. Palin incited murder.”

The bar for defamation against public figures such as Mrs. Palin is very high, and it is an open question whether she will prevail in court. Even so, the legal proceedings should be fascinating, particularly if they offer a behind the scenes look at how the Times editorial board came to print a known falsehood, and only issued its sort-of correction after being called on it by its media brethren.

We might even be treated to a James O'Keefe-like expose -- all on the record, and under oath.