Sarah Palin’s libel lawsuit against the New York Times has been rejected by both jury and judge.
Sarah Palin sued the newspaper in 2017 claiming that they had damaged her career as a political writer by publishing an editorial linking her rhetoric and the terrorist massacre that left former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords badly wounded and six others dead. The Times claimed that Palin’s political action committee had inspired violent intent by circulating a map of electrol districts with gun sights over Democrat candidates, including Giffords.
“It was devastating to read a false accusation that I had anything to do with murder,” Palin said. “I felt powerless — that I was up against Goliath. … I was David.”
Sarah Palin has constantly framed herself as ‘the little guy’ in her fight against the New York Times, despite being a major political figure – former governor of Alaska, former vice presidential candidate with ties high up in the Republican party. She claims the editorial was a malicious attack to embarrass a pro-gun-rights politician.
In closing arguments, Palin’s lawyer Kenneth Turkel called the editorial an example of how the New York Times “treated people on the right they don’t agree with. … They don’t care. She’s just one of ‘them.’”
Before the lawsuit, Palin was frequently known to parrot the Trump party line of ‘fake news’ about media sources like the Times.
The jury determined that Palin’s team had not proven the New York Times or editor James Bennet acted with ‘actual malice’ or ‘reckless disregard’ for the truth. And if the jury had decided the other way, Judge Jed Rakoff had already determined he would be vacating a jury finding for Palin, for the same reason.
“We’ve reached the same bottom line,” Rakoff told the jury. “But it’s on different grounds — you decided the facts, I decided the law.”
Photo: Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock