As you may have heard, Sarah Palin is suing the New York Times for defamation due to the publication printing a story that it “knew to be false.” Here’s how the Times characterized the story and the impending lawsuit:
In the lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Ms. Palin contends that The Times “violated the law and its own policies” when it linked her in an editorial to a mass shooting in January 2011.
The editorial was published online on June 14, the day a gunman opened fire at a baseball field where Republican lawmakers were practicing for an annual charity game. The editorial said there was a link between political incitement and the mass shooting in Arizona that severely wounded Representative Gabby Giffords and said that Ms. 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 Times later issued a correction, saying that there was no established link between political statements and the shooting and that the map circulated by Ms. Palin’s PAC had depicted electoral districts, not individual Democratic lawmakers, beneath the stylized cross hairs. The NYT Opinion Twitter account also sent out the correction about the lack of a link, apologizing and saying that it appreciated that readers had pointed out the mistake.
Regardless of where you stand on Palin’s case, there’s little chance Palin is going to win against the Times given a) she is a public figure and it is notoriously hard to win defamation cases, and b) she is going to have a difficult time proving the Times knowingly printed false statements about her (more about that here). In all likelihood, it’s more of a publicity stunt and an attempt to keep Palin relevant in hard right circles. Being seen to take on the Big Bad Fake News media, particularly on an issue like gun rights will go down a treat with the Trump base, and Palin stands to get at least a few days in the spotlight (which is a damn sight better than her new gig hawking clickbait on Facebook).
Either way, as Bill Maher pointed out on Twitter, what is really remarkable about the story is that Sarah Palin must have actually read a newspaper in order to have known about the story:
Sarah Palin is suing the New York Times? Wow, somebody tell Katie Couric, she finally named a newspaper!
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) July 3, 2017
This was in reference to the famous moment during the 2008 presidential election when Sarah Palin was asked by Katie Couric what newspapers she read and couldn’t name a single one:
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.