It’s finally happening, Fmr. Alaska Governor turned Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin is taking The New York Times to task with a lawsuit for their blatant defamation against her in a 2017 editorial about the shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise. After nearly five years a court date has been set for the politically charged case. The piece in the Times came long after a tragic attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords that left six people dead and Giffords severely wounded due to traumatic brain injury outside of Tucson, AZ, but attempted to draw a thru line from Palin to Giffords attacker comparing them to Scalise’s assailant, an avowed Bernie Sander supporter.
In the widely criticized editorial, the author(s) made the inflammatory and completely unfounded suggestion that because Gov. Palin’s political action committee produced election materials that depicted a map of electoral districts including Giffords as in the party’s ‘crosshairs’ somehow played a role in motivating the insane shooter.
The New York Times editorial said,
“In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear,” the editorial said. “Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.”
Unfortunately for the Times, this as Jeff B. from National Review’s Political Beats wrote, was “offensively, quasi-Stalinistically wrong” and it took some time, but even NBC News had to concede that the would-be assassin Jared Loughner had begun to plan his attack long before the Palin PAC’s allegedly controversial ‘crosshairs’ advertisements were ever distributed.
About 48 hours later the Times published a correction saying “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.” But as often happens and as the editorial boards of major publications and networks know very well, the damage was already done. In a twenty-four-hour news cycle, a correction two days later means less than nothing.
The Long Overdue Palin Lawsuit
Within days Sarah Palin had responded with a lawsuit against the New York Times that has crawled its way through the legal system opposed at every turn by the publishing giant who vowed to “defend against any claim vigorously”. Palin’s lawsuit stated in part, “The underlying premise of the Palin Article is that there is a ‘sickening’ pattern of politically incited violence against members of Congress and that this pattern stems from Mrs. Palin’s direct and clear incitement of Loughner’s 2011 shooting in Arizona,” the suit argues.
“But The Times fabricated this supposed ‘pattern’ and Mrs. Palin’s role in it, resurrecting a debunked connection between Mrs. Palin’s political activities and Loughner’s 2011 rampage in Arizona. By doing so, The Times implicitly attacked the conservative policies Mrs. Palin promotes and drove its digital advertising revenues at Mrs. Palin’s expense,”