Sarah Palin has accused the New York Times of defamation after an editorial article was published on June 14, 2017 accusing her of inciting Jared Lee Loughner to shoot Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ).
The Case Against the New York Times
According to Palin’s lawyers, the lawsuit was filed to hold the New York Times accountable for publishing a piece after they had acknowledged and knew that there was no connection between Palin and the Loughner shooting in 2011.
Palin’s team, “…seeks to hold The Times accountable for stating that Governor Palin is part of a ‘sickeningly familiar pattern’ of politically motivated violence and that she incited the horrific 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords, a tragedy where the gunman seriously wounded numerous people and killed 6, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl,” Palin’s lawyers stated. Palin also claims that the newspaper knew the claims to be false.
The paper quickly corrected the article, issuing a public statement on June 15, 2017, the day after the article was published, via Twitter saying, “we got an important fact wrong, incorrectly linking political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Giffords. No link was ever established. We’re sorry about this and we appreciate that our readers called us on the mistake.” The editorial has since been corrected.
The New York Times also said that “no such link was established” between Palin and the 2011 shooting and that the error did not “undercut or weaken the argument of the piece.”
Palin’s team said that the paper’s response, “did not approach the degree of the retraction and apology necessary and warranted by The Time’s false assertion that Mrs. Palin incited murder.”
Now, Palin is seeking over $75,000 in damages. In the lawsuit, Palin and her law team said there was, “blatant disregard of the substantial likelihood of causing her harm, thereby entitling Mrs. Palin to an award of punitive damages.”
Likelihood of Success
Defamation cases are especially hard to win when the Plaintiff is a “public figure.” Palin undoubtedly qualifies as a “public figure” as she is a former governor and vice presidential candidate. As such, Palin must prove not only that the New York Times defamed her, but that it did so with “actual malice,” meaning that the author and editors either knew its statements to be false or that the publication acted recklessly with respect to the truth or falsity of the statements when they were made.
Regardless of whether she can prove all of those elements, Palin has successfully accomplished one thing – bringing the case into the limelight. By exposing the article, she has brought more attention to the accused wrongdoing of the New York Times, which, if nothing else, could work in her favor in the court of public opinion.
Has anyone ever published something defamatory about you or your business? You don’t have to sit by idly either. We’ll help you bring the case into the forefront, so that you can clear your name and restore your reputation.