Sarah Palin sues the New York Times for defamation

Sarah Palin has hired the the lawyer who worked on the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker case, and sued the New York Times for defamation. At the center of the suits is this campaign ad and website she created back in 2010, where surveyors marks, "bullseyes" or crosshairs show each district where Sarah hoped to vote out the democrats. In a sad twist of faith, Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot along with 17 other people when a gunman attacked. Gabrielle Giffords name was on the map on Sarah Palin's website and Facebook posts. The New York Times wrote an editorial connecting the campaign to the shooting, stating that Sarah Palin's campaign incited Jared Lee Loughner to shoot Rep. Gabby Giffords. The editorial was published June 14, the same day that James Hodgkinson shot House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

On November 13 last year the Times pledged to their readers. Sarah Palin's lawyer's Ken Turkel, Shane Vogt, and S. Preston Ricardo stated that they “seek to hold The Times to its November 13, 2016, pledge ‘to rededicate itself to reporting facts honestly and holding power to account’, and to face both journalistic and financial accountability for the false statements that it published about Mrs. Palin.” In febuary the New York Times made their commitment to the truth the centerpiece of their new ad campaign, "Truth is hard".

The Times originally wrote this, in their june 14 editorial.

Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. 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. 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.

They then issued corrections, the first that “no connection to the shooting was ever established,” and later they added this to the article:

An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established.

Back in January 2011, tons of papers were reporting on Sarah Palin's "crosshairs" campaign, attempting to link the campaign to the shooting in Arizona. Gawker noted that Sarah Palin announced the website on her twitter with the phrase "Don't retreat, instead- RELOAD!"
The Atlantic asked "Did Sarah Palin's target map play a role in Giffords shooting?"
ABC news noted that "Sarah Palin's 'Crosshairs' Ad Dominates Gabrielle Giffords Debate."
The Washinton Post fact checked and concluded that it was a "bogus claim" that the map had incited the shooting.

The issue today is that the Times still plays fast and loose with their words, stating that Sarah Palin's ad put “Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.”
If you look at the ad, the crosshairs are located on a map, not over the images of Democrats, which is how that line could be interpreted. Eventually the NYT had to add this correction:

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.

You can read Sarah Palin's complaint in full here, and you'll note that her lawyers are using the Times own reporting against them, demonstrating clear bias in the reporting.

At the time of publication, The Times knew and had published pieces acknowledging that there was no connection between Mrs. Palin and Loughner’s 2011 shooting.
Moreover, The Times’ false statements about the link between Mrs. Palin and the Loughner shooting stood in stark contrast to how The Times treated speculation about political motives
behind Hodgkinson’s rampage: The Times concluded that there was not a connection between Hodgkinson and his professed penchant for Democratic stances sufficient to warrant implicating
Democrats or the Bernie Sanders campaign as inciting factors for Hodgkinson’s attack. The Times sought to set the record straight by tweeting a “Fact Check” on June 15, 2017, directed at
those who it wrote were “falsely blaming” Bernie Sanders and other Democrats for Hodgkinson’s Virginia shooting. (See Exhibit 3).

Ironically, Palin seems to have been inspired to sue by another editorial, where the headline asks "Does Sarah Palin have a libel case?"

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

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