Sarah Palin sues The New York Times over Virginia shooting editorial

June 27, 2017
Category: Business & Work

Former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin filed suit against The New York Times on Tuesday evening, alleging the newspaper defamed her by publishing an editorial that connected rhetoric from a Palin political action committee to the shooting of former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The lawsuit, which began circulating on Twitter Tuesday evening, alleges that The New York Times published “a statement about her that it knew to be false: that Mrs. Palin was responsible for inciting a mass shooting at a political event in January 2011.”

The lawsuit comes after a June 14 New York Times editorial, titled “America’s lethal politics,” that argued the recent shooting of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise was a product of America’s fraught political and policy climate.

To illustrate the connection between Scalise’s and Giffords’ shooting, the original editorial noted that, before Giffords was shot, a political action committee associated with Palin “circulated a map that showed the targeted electoral districts of Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.”

Later, after an outcry on social media, The Times appended a major caveat to that paragraph: “But in that case no connection to the shooting was ever established.” It also issued a correction flagging the change:

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 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.

In a brief statement Tuesday night, The New York Times said it planned to fight the lawsuit.

“We have not seen the claim yet but will defend against any claim vigorously,” said New York Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha.