Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sarah Palin Sues New York Times For Defamation Over Editorial Linking Her To Loughner Shooting of Gabby Giffords In 2011

Sarah Palin, former Alaskan Governor and 2012 Vice-Presidential Republican candidate, is suing the New York Times for defamation, alleging that a NYT editorial published June 14th falsely linked her to the 2011 shooting of former Representative Gabby Giffords (D-AZ). In particular, Ms. Palin objects to wording that indicates that a PAC associated with her "circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs."

Although the NYT corrected the statements and apologized, Ms. Palin is pursuing the matter, saying that the Times apology is not enough because the paper has accused her of inciting murder. 

June 14th is the same day that Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and others were injured in a shooting at a baseball field in Virginia. Rep. Scalise is still undergoing treatment at Medstar, in Washington, DC.

In order for Ms. Palin to prevail in her action against the Times, because she is a public figure, she must show that the Times knew or should have known that the statements it made were false when it made them.  (First problem: the NYT can argue it didn't make any statements of fact).

An article published in the Washington Post analyzes the issue.   Mark Grabowski at the Washington Examiner also takes a look at the likelihood that Ms. Palin could win her suit--his conclusion is that success is unlikely.


More here from NPR's the Two-Way.

| Permalink