Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against New York Times

August 30, 2017

Judge Dismisses Defamation Lawsuit

Former U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, tried to bring a lawsuit against the New York Times, but a federal judge dismissed the case.

Palin claimed the New York Times defamed her in an editorial linking her to a mass shooting in 2011. The editorial, written in June 2011, was about a shooting at a Virginia baseball field that injured 4 people, including a U.S. Representative.

The former Alaska governor, Palin, sued the New York Times, seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

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The editorial tried to link the shooting in Virginia to a trend of political violence. It mentioned a shooting earlier that year, in Arizona, that had targeted U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, and killed six people. In the article, it said that Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map that “put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized crosshairs.”

Since then, the New York Times issued multiple corrections, such as its description of the map and claiming there was no link established between the shooter in Arizona and political rhetoric.

The editor of the New York Times editorial board, James Bennet, testified earlier this month. Bennet said he did not extensively review the Times’ coverage of the shooting or look at the map while editing the article.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said the there was no proof that the potential errors in the editorial were made maliciously. Specifically, he said there was not enough to establish that Bennet wrote the editorial knowing it was false.

Rakoff said, “Negligence this may be, but defamation of a public figure it plainly is not.”