Sarah Palin's Defamation Suit Against the NYT Will Proceed After All

Sarah Palin after endorsing Trump (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Whenever there’s a shooting that our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters in the press want to focus on, their first and foremost duty is to figure out how to blame it on the Republicans. We’re seeing it now, after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton last weekend. And we saw it back in 2011, when a lunatic in Arizona named Jared Lee Loughner shot Gabby Giffords, and lefties climbed all over each other to blame Sarah Palin.


Their evidence? A map circulated by Palin’s political action committee, in which Giffords’ electoral district was one of 20 placed under “crosshairs”:

The goal was to vote those politicians out of office, but it was seized and pounced upon by the left as evidence that Palin targeted Giffords for death. There was never any evidence that Loughner even saw this map, let alone that it incited his actions. Even our good friends at PolitiFact had to admit that.

Nonetheless, that canard became the received wisdom on the left. Then, in 2017, after a Bernie Bro named James T. Hodgkinson shot at a group of Republican legislators at baseball practice and almost killed Steve Scalise, the NYT published an editorial that repeated the lie about Palin:

“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.”

The link to political incitement was not clear, and the NYT subsequently corrected this false claim. Palin sued them for defamation anyway, and then it was thrown out of court.

Until today. Dan Mangan, CNBC:

A federal appeals court on Tuesday reversed a judge’s decision dismissing former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against the New York Times for a 2017 editorial that suggested an image produced by Palin’s political action committee incited the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona.


The appellate panel said Judge Jed Rakoff of U.S. District Court in Manhattan in 2017 had relied on facts outside of legal filings in the case to dismiss the suit against The Times by Palin, who was the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008…

That evidence was testimony by James Bennet, the editorial page editor who had written the editorial in dispute, who said he had been unaware of past Times articles and The Atlantic, where [he] previously was editor-in-chief, which reported that there was no connection between Palin and her PAC and Jared Loughner, the man who seriously wounded Gifford in a mass shooting.

Now the suit will proceed. No matter what happens next, it’s nice to know that the truth still counts for something. The rules still apply to both tribes. Maybe we can’t make the NYT and the rest of the left stop lying about us, but we can punish them for doing so. We can make it hurt.

Metaphorically speaking, of course.


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