Sarah Palin Lawsuit
A federal judge dismissed A lawsuit by former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Ms. Palin had planned to take a case against the New York Times.
She claimed that an editorial which appeared in the paper in June attempted to link her to a shooting in Arizona in 2011. The editorial followed a shooting incident at a baseball field. The attack resulted in the injuring of Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
The editorial claimed that there was a link between a map of targeted electoral districts circulated by Ms Palin’s political action committee, and a shooting in Tuscon, Arizona. Jared L. Loughner murdered six people, including a District Court Judge. His intended target was Representative Gabrielle Giffords. She was severely injured in the attack. Loughner was later sentenced to life in prison, convicted of several counts of murder and attempted murder. The New York Times later released a correction. They stated that there was no link between the political activities of Palin and Loughner’s attack.
Sarah Palin claimed that previous articles published in the Times had illustrated that there was no connection between her political campaigning and the attack. Therefore, the editorial should have had ample evidence of the event, prior to its publication.
New York Times Editorial Page Editor, James Bennet, testified at a hearing that there had been no intention to link Ms. Palin with the attack. He claimed that instead, he was attempting to demonstrate a point on heated political environments.
Ms. Palin’s legal team believed that the New York Times was acting out of malice when publishing the editorial. However, Judge Rakoff, who was hearing the case, disagreed. He stated that it was more plausible that the Times editor made a genuine error prior to publishing, and had taken the appropriate steps to counter the statement. Judge Rakoff said it was more consistent with a genuine mistake than with intended malice.
Following the ruling, a spokesperson for the New York Times said: Judge Rakoff’s opinion is an important reminder of the country’s deep commitment to a free press and the important role that journalism plays in our democracy. We regret the errors we made in the editorial. But we were pleased to see that the court acknowledged the importance of the prompt correction we made once we learned of the mistakes.”
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