The Jury Talks Back

6/28/2017

Sarah Palin Files Lawsuit Against The New York Times

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 5:44 am

[guest post by Dana]

Sarah Palin is suing the NYT for defamation over a recent editorial titled “America’s Lethal Politics,” which tied her to the Gabby Gifford shooting in 2011:

Sarah Palin, former vice-presidential candidate, filed a defamation lawsuit against The New York Times Company on Tuesday, saying the newspaper had published a statement about her in a recent editorial that it “knew to be false.”

In the lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Ms. Palin contends that The Times “violated the law and its own policies” when it linked her in an editorial to a mass shooting in January 2011.

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.

You can read the complaint here. (Scroll down to bottom). In part:

Mrs. Palin brings this action to hold The Times accountable for defaming her by publishing a statement about her that it knew to be false: that Mrs. Palin was responsible for inciting a mass shooting at a political event in January 2011. Specifically, on June 14, 2017, The Times Editorial Board, which represents the “voice” of The Times, falsely stated as a matter of fact to millions of people that Mrs. Palin incited Jared Loughner’s January 8, 2011, shooting rampage at a political event in Tucson, Arizona, during which he shot nineteen people, severely wounding United States Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and killing six, including Chief U.S. District Court Judge John Roll and a nine-year-old girl.

The Times conduct was committed knowingly, intentionally, willfully, wantonly and maliciously, with the intent to harm Mrs. Palin, or in blatant disregard of the substantial likelihood of causing her harm, thereby entitling Mrs. Palin to an award of punitive damages.

As has been documented, The Times has been pushing this debunked smear for several years.

Here is the correction The Times posted the day after running the June 14 editorial:

NYT

important fact

NYT2

The Washington Post notes that the claim addresses that no retraction of the article was made, as well as no apology was made directly to Palin:

“Given that the entire premise of the Palin Article was the ‘disturbing pattern’ of politically incited violence emanating from a non-existent link between Mrs. Palin and Loughner’s 2011 crime, which The Times conceded did not exist, the entire Palin Article should have been retracted — not minimally and inadequately corrected — and The Times should have apologized to Mrs. Palin.”

Erik Wemple writes that The Times tried again, publishing yet another unsatisfactory “correction”:

Correction: June 16, 2017
An editorial on Thursday about the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise incorrectly stated that a link existed between political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established. The editorial also incorrectly described a map distributed by a political action committee before that shooting. It depicted electoral districts, not individual Democratic lawmakers, beneath stylized cross hairs.

Again, what’s up with the failure to cite Palin in the corrective language? “The Times did not issue a full and fair retraction of its defamatory Palin Article, nor did it issue a public apology to Mrs. Palin for stating that she incited murder and was the centerpiece of a ‘sickening’ pattern of politically motivated shootings,” says the complaint.

There’s an interesting thread here discussing the merits of Palin’s lawuit, which Popehat’s Ken White says he believes it to be “non-frivolous” (meaning: “not obviously wrong, possibly has merit”).

–Dana

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