Sarah Palin sues New York Times for defamation over editorial linking her to Giffords shooting

Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin (Wikimedia)

On Tuesday, Fox News reported that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin filed a lawsuit against the New York Times over an editorial that tied her to the January 2011 shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

According to Fox:

Palin’s attorneys claim that the paper defamed her in the June 14 editorial, published hours after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was shot and wounded while practicing with the GOP’s baseball team in Alexandria, Va.

The editorial, attributed to the Times’ editorial board and titled “America’s Lethal Politics,” initially linked Palin’s rhetoric to the shooting that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The paper posted a correction the next day admitting that “no such link was established.”

The editorial also incorrectly claimed that an ad from Palin’s political action committee put “Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs[sic].” The paper also corrected that statement, admitting that the crosshairs on the map targeted “electoral districts, not individual Democratic lawmakers,” Fox said.

“The Times used its false assertion about Mrs. Palin as an artifice to exploit the [Scalise] shooting,” Palin’s attorneys said in the suit.

“The Times published and promoted its Editorial Board’s column despite knowing … the false assertion that Mrs. Palin incited [Tucson shooter Jared] Loughner to murder six people,” the lawsuit added. “In doing so, the Times violated the law and its own policies.”

The Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson added:

“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,” Palin’s suit states.

“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.”

“As the public backlash over The Times’ malicious column mounted, it responded by making edits and ‘corrections’ to its fabricated story, along with half-hearted Twitter apologies–none of which sufficiently corrected the falsehoods that the paper published. In fact, none mentioned Mrs. Palin or acknowledged that Mrs. Palin did not incite a deranged man to commit murder,” the lawsuit further says.

Conservatives cheered the news on social media:

As I wrote at the now-defunct Examiner.com at the time, liberals used the shooting to attack Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, crosshairs and pretty much everyone to the right of Josef Stalin despite the fact that it was carried out by a left-wing lunatic who hated George W. Bush.

It certainly hasn’t been a good week for fake news outlets…

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