Sarah Palin Files Defamation Suit Against NYT For Publishing Widely Debunked Claim

The New York Times was blasted for including a widely debunked theory in one of its editorial pieces and failing to mention that there was no basis for the theory. The publication will now have to answer for its actions in a court of law. As the Daily Mail shares, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has filed a defamation suit against the paper.

The Times piece ran in the wake of the Alexandria shooting that left Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) critically wounded and four others seriously injured. As part of the editorial, the author brought up the 2011 shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. While doing so, some information that has been widely debated and proven to be false was included.

“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,” the piece read in part. “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.”

For some reason, the Times failed to include mention of the fact that the theory that the PAC map was somehow responsible for Loughner’s actions has been proven to be false. After some backlash, the Times posted a correction.

“An editorial on Thursday about the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise incorrectly stated that a link existed between political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established,” the correction read. “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.”

The correction was not enough to appease Palin, and she has gone ahead and filed suit.

“Mrs. Palin brings this action to hold The Times accountable for falsely stating to millions of people that she, a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, who committed a substantial portion of her adult life to public service, is part of a pattern of 'lethal​' politics and responsible for inciting an attack that seriously injured numerous people and killed six, including a nine-year-old girl who, at that time, was the same age as Mrs. Palin’s youngest daughter,” the suit reads in part.

That prompted the following response from the Times.

“We have not reviewed the claim yet but will defend against any claim vigorously,” a spokesperson said.

We’ll have to wait and see if this one actually makes it to trial before being dismissed or settled, but it could very easily be a landmark case if it makes it that far. As such, it would lead to a rise in lawsuits against publications that post inflammatory accusations that are devoid of anything resembling merit. For the Times' part, this was incredibly sloppy. The publication was immediately called out for including false information without context, and it’s pretty hard to fathom how a piece such as that can make it to print without someone picking up on it.

The Times was called out so vociferously because it’s common knowledge that any connection between Loughner and Palin has already been disproven. A failure to point that out is pretty incomprehensible, especially when we’re talking about a supposed leader in the world of journalism.

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: YouTube

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