Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin filed a defamation lawsuit against The New York Times after the newspaper published an editorial accusing her of inciting violence and that “they knew to be false,”according to court documents.
In the article, the Editorial Board analyzed the shooting that left four victims injured, including a Republican Congressman, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana. The piece examined how incendiary political speech and easy access to guns may have facilitated the incident. Shooter James Hodgkinson was a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), and reportedly posted anti-Trump messages to social media.
The Editorial Board walked into some dicey territory, however. They drew a parallel between the recent shooting and the 2011 attack on Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords, which also left six dead and more injured. In doing so, the board said there was a “clear” link between the actions of shooter Jared Lee Loughner and speech by Palin’s political action committee. Commenters, many conservative, did not respond kindly.
The New York Times issued a correction on Thursday, and changed the article’s wording:
Correction: June 15, 2017
An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established.
And again later that day.
Correction: June 15, 2017
An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established. The editorial has also been updated to clarify that in a map distributed by a political action committee before that shooting, electoral districts, not Democratic lawmakers, were depicted beneath stylized cross hairs.
Palin was quick to respond on Facebook:
In the lawsuit filed in The United States District Court for the Southerm District of New York, Palin said that the newspaper “violated the law and its own policies” when they referenced in 2011 editorial.
The lawsuit continues:
At the time of publication, The Times knew and had published pieces acknowledging that there was no connection between Mrs. Palin and Loughner’s 2011 shooting. Moreover, The Times’ false statements about the link between Mrs. Palin and the Loughner shooting stood in stark contrast to how The Times treated speculation about political motives behind Hodgkinson’s rampage: The Times concluded that there was not a connection between Hodgkinson and his professed penchant for Democratic stances sufficient to warrant implicating Democrats or the Bernie Sanders campaign as inciting factors for Hodgkinson’s attack.
According to a statement from The New York Times, a representative said: “We have not reviewed the claim yet but will defend against any claim vigorously.”
Alberto Luperon and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.
[Screengrab via CNN]