Former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin Filed a Defamation Lawsuit against the New York Times Tuesday, Claiming the Newspaper Falsely Linked Her to the 2011 Mass Shooting in Arizona That Wounded Then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. [Derived Headline]

Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2017 | Go to article overview

Former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin Filed a Defamation Lawsuit against the New York Times Tuesday, Claiming the Newspaper Falsely Linked Her to the 2011 Mass Shooting in Arizona That Wounded Then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. [Derived Headline]


Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin filed a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times Tuesday, claiming the newspaper falsely linked her to the 2011 mass shooting in Arizona that wounded then-congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York, says a Times editorial earlier this month "falsely stated as a matter of fact" that Palin had incited the attack, in which a gunman shot 19 people, killing six of them.

The Times published the editorial on June 14, shortly after a gunman opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a baseball field in Alexandria, injuring Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and several others. Drawing a parallel to the Arizona shooting, the newspaper's editorial board wrote that both attacks fit a "sickeningly familiar pattern" and that the "link to political incitement was clear."

"Before the shooting," it read, "Sarah Palin's political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral district that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs."

The description was inaccurate. The map had put cross hairs over targeted electoral districts but not Democratic politicians. Following a wave of backlash on social media, the Times issued an apology and corrected the editorial, saying no connection between political incitement and the Arizona shooting was ever established.

The Washington Post's Fact Checker found that the Times had relied on a thoroughly debunked talking point in its description of the map and noted that the Arizona gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, had no clear political views.

A Times spokeswoman said in a statement Tuesday: "We have not reviewed the claim yet but will defend against any claim vigorously."

Palin's lawsuit alleges the Times "violated the law and its own policies" in the editorial and criticizes the newspaper for not mentioning Palin by name in its correction.

"Given that the entire premise of the Palin Article was the 'disturbing pattern' of politically incited violence emanating from a non-existent link between Mrs. …

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Former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin Filed a Defamation Lawsuit against the New York Times Tuesday, Claiming the Newspaper Falsely Linked Her to the 2011 Mass Shooting in Arizona That Wounded Then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. [Derived Headline]
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