Monday: Sarah Palin vs. New York Times


Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gets her day in court vs. the “Gray Lady” on Monday, when her defamation lawsuit against the New York Times will be heard by a Manhattan jury.

In 2008, Palin was chosen by Sen. John McCain as his running mate in his bid for president. In 2017, the New York Times in an editorial directly linked Palin to the 2011 mass shooting in Arizona, when a gunman opened up fire on Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, wounding her and several others, killing six.

The editorial “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,” according to the complaint against the New York Times. The Times said that a Palin ad had depicted lawmakers with a gun target on them.

The Times later made a correction and even acknowledged that it had mischaracterized an ad run by a political action committee, which had shown various congressional districts around the country underneath target crosshairs.

Because The New York Times has admitted the error and called it an honest mistake, the Palin defamation case is a bit harder, and the newspaper has tried mightily to get the case dismissed. But Palin is alleging the newspaper acted in malice against her, and that is one of the tests of a libel suit.

“At issue is the elasticity of the protections that allow news organizations to present tough coverage of public figures,” Erik Wemple wrote on Friday in the Washington Post. “Or, to put things a bit more sharply, the case will help demarcate the line between really bad journalism and libelous journalism.”

According to the Freedom Forum Institute, “a public figure has to prove that the publisher of the false statements acted with ‘actual malice.’ Actual malice means that the publisher either knew that the statements were false, or acted with reckless disregard for whether they were true or false.”

The trial week will start with jury selection; prospective jurors will be asked if they know who Sarah Palin is, if they have opinions about her, the media, and the New York Times.

As the public discourse has become more harsh in recent years, it’s impossible to predict what the jury will decide in the Palin case, but her willingness to sue puts the New York Times on notice that it can’t abuse the truth to destroy reputations without consequence.


      • Bill, If you can’t see the difference between journalism and slander, which it seems journalistic slander is the norm these days, then there lies the problem.

        • It was a reasonable question that you haven’t answered either but you then felt the need to answer for the court. No need for the courts when you are on the job, eh? Heheh!

    • Agreed Palin was before my time, I have little opinion. However, NTY continues to defame and need to be held liable. The line in the sand needs to be drawn not just for NTY but all of journalism.

  1. That this lawsuit is even showing up in any court is progress. When will SCOTUS take up a case that will define just how much lying the nyt and wapo can get away with? The first thing we need to do to turn this nation around is restore the value of truth – while still preserving the First Amendment.

  2. I’d be more inclined to support her if I had a clear understanding of her end game. Does she want damages, an apology, or what?
    And why?
    Without said info this feels like a “hey, notice me” bid.

  3. It’s impossible for a conservative to get a fair trial in a deep blue city like New York when the issue is political. Look what they did to Ted Stevens in Washington, DC. It amazes me he didn’t get a change of venue for that “trial.” The jury pool in these cities comes from 90% who vote Demo. No chance of getting a fair trial there.

    • That’s just revisionist history. Ted Stevens did a lot of great things for Alaska, but he was guilty as hell of taking expensive gifts from VECO, and not reporting them. When VECO President Bill Allen got caught bribing handful of Alaska Republican politicians, Allen spilled the beans on Stevens corruption to cut a deal with the Feds. Stevens deserved to be convicted and thrown out of office.

      • You’re the one revising history here. Ted’s conviction was thrown out by Judge Sullivan due to the egregious conduct by the prosecutors and FBI. Included in the ruling throwing out his conviction was the failure to disclose exculpatory evidence by the prosecutors proving Ted’s innocence. And to add to my point about getting a fair trial with political implications, one of the prosecutors was seen at a Democrat convention, not a sign you’re going to get fair treatment if you’re a Republican. One prosecutor also committed suicide after the conviction was thrown out – why? Go take your revisionist history elsewhere.

        • Give me a break. VECO added a second story to Stevens Girdwood home for a small fraction of what it would cost anyone else to build, Stevens was legally required to disclose this extravagant gift worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and he didn’t. When he got caught he tried to blame it on his wife. Sounds guilty to me.

  4. I think i am seeing just the start a slew of character defamation political lawsuits againts journalists no matter who they are. First there was the recall obession. Second the lawsuit obsession. I think both are counter productive. What does the public know anyway they don’t read books. Not even leaders read books they pay an aid to read for them. So they panic, they overreact, and give their precieved enemy publicity.

  5. The judge who apparently is a New York scum bag already shot his mouth off about her not being vaccinated. I hope Sarah takes them for millions. News media is the bottom of the barrel anymore.

  6. The NYT retracted the incorrect assertions in its editorial within a few hours of publication. I doubt Palin can prove she was actually damaged by the editorial. She was already viewed as a whack job idiot by most Americans long before the editorial ran. And let’s not forget that she dumped Alaskans (i.e. resigned as governor) in pursuit of becoming a Fox News commentator after Obama drubbed her and MacCain in 2008. Hard to imagine how the NYt editorial lowered her standing among Americans or Alaskans, So it seems likely to me that the lawsuit is just her attempt to get some headlines. She has largely been forgotten by most and the lawsuit seems like a desperate move to get some publicity.

  7. “…….The editorial “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,”………
    Interesting, considering the Demoncrats in Congress are repeatedly trying to “falsely state as a matter of fact to millions of people that Mr. Trump incited the Washington DC riot on January 6, 2016.” Some themes just never go away with those guys and gals.

Comments are closed.